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County mine inspector pay cut

May 15, 2012
By JIM ANDERSON - News Editor , The Daily News

IRON MOUNTAIN - Dickinson County is reducing the salary for the county mine inspector.

The county board voted 3-2 Monday to set the starting salary at $27.08 per hour, with a maximum of 150 hours per year, or $4,062 annually.

Previously, the 2013 salary was set at $10,838.

Commissioners Joe Stevens and John Degenaer Jr. voted no. Degenaer stressed the importance of inspecting fences at such sites as the former Bewabic Mine pit.

But Chairman Henry Wender, who joined commissioners Ann Martin and Frank Smith in approving the reduction, said the elected position has been "grossly overpaid the past few years."

The county will require quarterly reports stipulating hours, mileage and activity. There are no active mines in Dickinson County.

The current mine inspector, Todd Jastremski, is not expected to seek re-election this year, according to county officials. Jastremski met recently with the board and indicated he was spending about 250 to 300 hours per year on the job.

The deadline to file nominating petitions for the Aug. 7 primary is 4 p.m. today. The board's action is subject to a legal review by Prosecuting Attorney Stephanie Brule.

In other business Monday, the board:

- Heard Leonard Reed, a member of U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek's staff, report that the congressman succeeded in adding a timber harvest provision to an Interior Appropriations bill signed by President Obama. The "pre-decisional review process" for federal forest harvests requires that objections to sales be filed at the time of the sale, Reed explained. The purpose is to prohibit lawsuits once harvesting has begun, he said. The action by Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, was in response to concerns expressed by county officials as well as loggers and the U.S. Forest Service, Reed said.

- Approved a request from the Dickinson County Library Board to include a five-year millage renewal of up to 0.9 mills for 2015-19 on the upcoming Aug. 7 ballot.

- Heard Wender report that chances are good that a fixed-wing Valley Med Flight air ambulance service will be housed at Ford Airport to transport patients from across the Upper Peninsula to higher levels of care as needed. A decision is expected within a couple of weeks, Wender said.

- Agreed to enter into negotiations with Brook/Janousek, LLC of Kingsford to lease a parcel at Ford Airport for construction of a hangar measuring 54 feet by 48 feet.

- Approved a resolution opposing a Michigan Department of Human Services proposal that would increase the rates paid to private agencies that administer foster care cases. The agencies are seeking a 26 percent administrative rate increase, even though there has been no fiscal analysis to justify it, according to a memo from Dickinson Probate/Family Court Judge Thomas Slagle. Foster parents, meanwhile, have gone years without an increase, the judge said.

- Voted 4-1 to approve a request from District Court Judge Christopher Ninomiya to attend a statewide judicial conference Aug. 8-10 in downstate Thompsonville at a cost of up to $825. Smith voted no, saying the cost is too high.

- Voted 4-1 to approve a request from Slagle to attend a statewide probate judges conference June 25-27 in downstate Bay City at a cost of up to $870. Smith voted no.

- Voted 3-2 to approve a request from Slagle to send two probate staff members to a statewide conference June 13-15 in downstate Thompsonville at an approximate cost of $730. Smith and Martin voted no.

- Gave permission for landscaping work on county property near the Pine Mountain Ski Jump scaffold. A 20-foot strip will be cleared by the Sons of the American Legion and the Kiwanis Ski Club for improvements to the U.P. Veterans Memorial Park and additional space for snowmaking equipment, Stevens said.

- Authorized the Hamilton Lake Association to use Lake Mary Park on Saturday, July 21, for its annual picnic, subject to proof of insurance. The pavilion fee will be waived.

Jim Anderson's email address is



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