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Emily City Council discusses law enforcement salaries, Hwy. 6 Construction issues

Web posted November 6, 2018
By Bill Monroe, Northland Press Correspondent

(Editor’s Note: The following article was written from the unapproved minutes of a meeting of the Emily City Council held on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 as provided by the City Clerk.)

The Emily City Council had made a motion to approve the Police Employment Agreement at a prior meeting. The Council stated the intent had been to approve the Police Employment Agreement salary increase for budget purposes and discuss the remaining revisions at a later date. However, the Council rescinded that motion when it met in regular session on Tuesday, October 9. Members present included Mayor Robert Lund and Council members Dan Barrett, Gerhart Hanson, Jan Mosman, and Bill Spiess. Also present were Tom Pearson, City Attorney, Cari Johnson, City Clerk/Treasurer, and Pam Roden, Deputy Clerk.

Council member Hanson made a motion to rescind the September motion approving the Police Employment Agreement. The motion passed with Council member Mosman voting no. Then Council member Spiess made a motion to set the salary of the police chief at $1,092 a week and the motion carried unanimously.

Police Chief Herold requested a pay increase from $18.01 to $20.00 per hour for part-time police officers, which was included in the 2019 Budget. The pay increase is needed for hiring of new part-time police officers. The Council approved the increase effective November 1 of this year.

The Council approved a recommendation from Police Chief Herold to hire two part-time police officers. The current parttime police officers are employed full-time elsewhere and are not able to commit many hours to Emily. The goal is to hire parttime police officers employed elsewhere who need experience, are able to work more hours, and would not require as much training as a new employee. The 2019 Budget included funds for part-time police officer hours, so the hiring of two part-time police officers would not increase the budget. The Council approved hiring the pair at $15 per hour during field training and increasing their pay after successful completion of required preemployment screening.

The Council will consider a Policy on the Prohibition of the Use of Excessive Force. The City policy for consideration states the City prohibits any law enforcement agency operating within its jurisdiction from using excessive force against any individuals engaged in nonviolent civil rights demonstrations and will enforce the policy within its jurisdiction and according to applicable state or local laws.

City Attorney Report
City Attorney Pearson reported he was directed to meet with Emily Meats’ attorney to discuss how the City may be part of a resolution to Emily Meats’ parking problems. The discussion between himself, Emily Meats’ attorney, and MnDOT is being scheduled. There has been correspondence between Emily Meats and MnDOT regarding placement of the bollards.

An unemployment claim was received from the State on behalf of a former employee who voluntarily resigned and signed a Separation Agreement. The Council could choose to contest the unemployment claim within the timeframe. The Council voted not to contest the unemployment claim unless it is determined that doing so would result in the City’s unemployment insurance.

Roads
The MnDOT State Highway 6 Reconstruction Project created issues including: flooding, standing water, and/or drainage issues at Emily Meats, The Log Cabin, Pine River State Bank, Emily Cooperative Telephone Company, and The Landing; grading of Broadway; and reseeding at the old City Hall location. MnDOT is working on intersection safety concerns regarding the State Highway 6/County Road 1 intersection. Ditch work on Evergreen Drive is believed to have been completed. The City has no jurisdiction regarding the MnDOT project issues.

There is an issue with flooding at The Log Cabin. Dan Barrett, business owner, was granted a permit to resolve the issue. MnDOT agreed the work was needed before winter but was not able to have the work completed before winter. Barrett contracted separately to have the work completed, but MnDOT will not compensate Barrett for the work because the work was not completed by a MnDOT contractor. Barrett met with MnDOT and a response will be given in a couple of weeks.

City Attorney Pearson stated MnDOT’s project is completely out of the control of the City. It is not the City’s responsibility to fix a project the City did not complete. Pearson stated he could agree with the City having an obligation to stick up for businesses adversely affected by the project. The Clerk will give the City Attorney a list of items to discuss with MnDOT, which will include The Log Cabin and Emily Meats’ concerns.

The Council discussed creating a snow removal plan for the downtown area, including where to put snow removed from the sidewalks. There were questions regarding whether additional staff are needed or to hire a contractor.

The City had requested MnDOT’s permission to change the City’s public parking lot exit ramp onto State Highway 6 to an entrance and exit ramp. MnDOT responded the exit ramp needs to remain exit only because the ramp is not wide enough and is angled. The Clerk will send another request to MnDOT for permission to use the exit ramp as an entrance/exit ramp.

A MnDOT representative recently stated there is no parking on the west side of State Highway 6 between County Road 1 and the public parking lot exit. Vehicles parked on the west side of State Highway 6 between County Road 1 and the public parking lot exit block the sight lines of the State Highway 6/County Road 1 intersection.

MnDOT is conducting a study of the State Highway 6/County Road 1 intersection due to safety concerns, including the consideration of installation of more bollards.

Other Business
In other business, the Council:
• Heard guest speaker Scott Sadusky, City to Lakes Inspection Services;

• Amended the prosecution contract between Emily and Crow Wing County to set the fee at a flat $2,500;

• Rescinded an August 15 motion to purchase a $500,000 C.D. because doing so would leave the City without adequate funds in the General Fund;

• Accepted a $5,000 donation from the Outing Chamber of commerce to the Over the Hills Gang to create a designated ATV and snowmobile route through Emily;

• Accepted the resignation of James Fraser from the Park Commission and

• Appointed Penelope Stiles to the Park Commission.

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