S&J Enterprises brought carnival rides and games to the Harrisville Brat Fest last Sunday, much to the delight of youngster like these. Shown here trying to win prizes in the Pick-a-Duck booth.

Highway Committee can’t act on motion to remove Chairperson

By Keri Solis
At the top of the agenda of the Marquette County Highway Committee’s meeting for August last week was the consideration of a motion to remove the Highway Committee Chairperson, Jerry Hebert. However, before this could take place, Marquette County Corporate Counsel Natalie Bussan informed the committee that per the county’s own rules, the chair of the Highway Committee, along with the chair of the Agriculture and Extension Education Committee, are elected by the whole county board. This was a surprise to all in attendance, who didn’t realize this was proper procedure.

As a result, the committee could not elect a new chairperson, but did take an advisory vote. There were three nominees: Dan Klawitter, Bob Goldsmith and Marvin Groskreutz. Groskreutz had the majority with four of six votes. Klawitter was absent.

The August meeting also marked the first official meeting at which a seven-member committee would come together. At the July meeting of the Board of Supervisors, a resolution was passed adding two more members to the highway committee. However, according to Hebert, proper notice was not given for the resolution, making it illegal. Bussan stated that by her interpretation of the rules, the action was legal.

Hebert also questioned if phone calls made by Supervisor Bob Miller to inform other supervisors of the agenda item to remove Hebert constituted a walking quorum. “I’m very offended that you are implying that I did something wrong,” said Miller. “Calling Marv (Groskreutz) is not a quorum, it is simply a phone call.”

Moving on to other business, a year ago county buildings underwent a security survey and as a result, the committee gave approval for silent alarm buttons to be placed at the front desk of the highway department. One would activate a red light in the shop and the other would alert the sheriff’s department to an issue. Final approval was given to purchase such an alarm.

Interim highway commissioner Randy Ravenscroft announced that as a result of recommendations from the audit, they had already put measures in place to help control the inventory of materials such as gravel, salt and sand. Inventory will be conducted quarterly to find discrepancies quickly. Piles are now signed to ensure that the proper material is being taken and there will be a loader at each site to maintain consistency.

At the end of the meeting, Brenda Petersen, accountant and office manager for the highway department, apologized for the destruction of a cell phone belonging to the county that had been used by former Highway Commissioner Brenden Rhinehart. According to witnesses, Petersen took the phone into the parking lot the day after the hearing at which Rhinehart was terminated from his position. She then proceeded to take three swings at it with a baseball bat.

Police were called, but no charges were filed. A closed session meeting regarding the matter had been held in July and a motion was made to fire Petersen for the incident. That motion was voted down. However, the county took other disciplinary action. Petersen will also be paying the county for the value of the phone.