Crosslake Council Adopts Skype Policy, Union Contract
Web posted December 25, 2018
By Bill Monroe, Northland Press Correspondent
After discussing several concerns voiced by mayor-elect David Nevin, the Crosslake City Council voted to allow members to attend City Council meetings via Skype technology beginning in 2019 when the Council met in special session on Tuesday, December 19 at 8 a.m. Nevin said he was concerned that using Skype technology, which allows members of the Council in the chambers to see and hear Council members calling in from remote locations, is problematic for several reasons. He said when Council members leave the community for several weeks or months during the winter they not only miss meetings, they also lose their ability to keep their fingers on the pulse of the community. He said there could also be technical glitches that could occur that would make it impossible to hold meetings due to a lack of a quorum.
City Administrator and Treasurer Mike Lyonais said the League of Minnesota Cities has advised that using Skype technology is legal so long as at least one Council member is physically in attendance at the Council meeting and that anyone attending the meeting can see and hear those calling in from remote locations. Council member Gary Heacox asked if the Council approved using Skype, would the City purchase laptop computers for Council members. City Clerk Char Nelson said that the City has laptops Council members could use. Council member Dave Schrupp said he had visited with representatives from Nisswa and other area communities that had used the technology and found that they had experienced no problems.
Mayor Patty Norgaard made a motion to allow the use of the technology in 2019. Nevin seconded the motion with an amendment that at least two Council members must be physically present at the Council meetings. The motion was unanimously adopted.
Lyonais reported that a negotiating team that included himself and Council members Schrupp and Heacox had worked with union members to negotiate a new contract affecting three employees in the Public Works Department and two in the Parks and Recreation Department who are members of the America Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Union (AFSCME). The new contract will become effective January 1 and run through December 31 of 2021.
Lyonais said the current contract wage scale contained some wages that fell below the minimum wage level so a new scale needed to be developed. During negotiations, the establishment of a safety committee was discussed but no action was taken. He said that topic would be discussed with the Council at a later date. The new contract calls for a wage increase of four percent. Lyonais said the increase would maintain personnel costs within the recently approved 2019 budget level.
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