By Pat Maurer
After recognizing Police Officers of the Year Greg Rynearson and James Leedy Monday, the Clare City Commission discussed the staffing needs of the Police Department.
City Manager Ken Hibl reported that he had authorized Chief Brian Gregory to hire another full time officer. He said, “We are paying our part-timers overtime. They are working 70 hours a week, that’s unacceptable.”
He continued, “We are now at the 1998 staff level. We didn’t replace Officer Rich Ward or Chief Midge [former Chief Dwayne Miedzianowski resigned earlier this month to accept the position of Clare County Undersheriff, and was replaced by full-time officer Brian Gregory].
Hibl said two full-time officers were taking advantage of an early retirement incentive and would be leaving this year; Greg Rynearson at the end of February and Al White in September. He also noted that Jeremy McGraw would be off indefinitely on medical leave. “We will still be shorthanded,” Hibl said. “We need to add to the part-time staff. Two of the four part-time officers can’t work during the week because they have other jobs.”
“We cannot continue operating safely in this manner,” Hibl wrote in his City Manager’s Report.
In his report, Hibl also reminded the Commission that the Michigan Department of Transportation would hold two Public Meetings January 28 to outline the coming improvements to U.S. Business Route 10 (Fifth Street), about 2.2 miles from west of Sunset Avenue to east of the US-10 interchange. The project will include milling, resurfacing, and improvement for drainage and access. The project will also include adding a center left-turn lane from Sunset Avenue to Clarabella Road just east of the U.S. 127 overpass. During the construction traffic will be one lane in alternating directions.
In another matter, Technology Director Steven Kingsbury reported that the city would be one of four communities in the State that would be eligible for broad band technology assistance in the form of instruction for businesses using the service.
In other business at the Monday meeting:
*The Commission approved a contract with Pitney Bowes for a postage meter at a cost of $972 annually. Clerk Diane Lyons reported that the company approved last September had “faulty equipment and was unreliable.”
*Hibl reported that Marvin Heinz has purchased the north end car wash and is planning enlargement and improvements.
*Approved the appointment of Shari Buccilli to the Downtown Development Authority.
*Heard a report from City Treasurer/Finance Director and Director of Technology Steven Kingsbury.