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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Town Of Middle Inlet Has New Town Clerk/Treasurer

Issue Date: April 18, 2019

At the start of the Town of Middle Inlet Annual Meeting on Tuesday, April 15, Town Chair Richard Wade introduced the 29 electors present to newly appointed Town Clerk/Treasurer Virginia (Ginny) Hines. The 19-year tenure of Charles Stanek as elected town clerk/treasurer officially ended at midnight.

Since Stanek did not attend the Annual Meeting Wade appointed Hines to take minutes as the first assignment in her new position. Hines' appointment to that post had been officially approved without dissent at the town board's regular monthly meeting on Thursday, April 11. Her starting salary is set at $1,500 per month, the same as Stanek's had been in the elected position. Town officials present for that meeting were Stanek, Wade and Supervisors Ron Wenzel and Donald Van. Wade, Wenzel and Van were also present for the Annual Meeting.

In other business at the annual meeting auditor Joel Rennie of Johnson & Rennie presented the annual audit report which showed the town in good condition with an unqualified audit, no debt, and a general fund that grew $3,641 last year to $119,751 on the same date this year. Rennie noted the budget last year had projected a $11,475 deficit, but both income and spending exceeded the budget expectations and they actually ended the year $15,116 better than they had expected. The town budget does not follow GASBY recommendations and is strictly on a cash basis with no accounting for ownership of real estate or equipment.

JoAnne Lieck, wife of former Town Supervisor Roger Lieck, said in view of the town's good financial condition as shown by the audit report, "I would like to see a raise for town supervisors"say 10 percent." Wade said it had been six years since supervisors had a raise. Lieck's motion was seconded by Carol Bausch and approved 28 to 1.

Bausch announced that efforts are underway to re-establish a Fire Department Auxiliary as a 501(3)(C) corporation to help the Fire Department with training and equipment expenses, including possible purchase of a new fire truck. Bausch hopes to hold the first meeting within a month and said some tentative plans for fund raising events are already underway.

Other business of the meeting included unanimous approval of keeping Stephenson National Bank and Trust as the town's main depository, with Associated Bank as a secondary; accepting the audit report, again designating the Peshtigo Times as the official town newspaper, and scheduling the next annual meeting for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21, 2020.

Hines, who lives at N8634 Maple Beach Road, moved to this area from the community of Canadian Lakes in lower Michigan last December to be nearer to her family. She recently retired from Ferris State University in Michigan, where she was a professor for 15 years.

In an introductory note set out at the meeting, Wade said Hines intends to be a permanent resident "Ginny brings a wealth of experience to the position," according to the note. "She has extensive administrative skills, grant writing skills, excellent communication and organizational skills, and additional education and training as a paralegal. She is technologically savvy and is looking forward to "bringing the office into the 21st century.' She plans on inviting community involvement through digital platforms and face to face opportunities. She has also created standard hours for the town's office." The note concluded with an invitation for the public to take time to meet Hines, "and inform her of your ideas for efficient and effective town business."

Hines is 61 years old. Her hobbies include kayaking, hiking, photography (specifically dog sled races), cooking, reading and writing. According to her resume, she holds Bachelor, Master and doctorate degrees and spent time in 2016 and 2017 in paralegal studies and duties involving legal research, drafting of court forms, service of documents, drafting of memoranda, briefs and motions and providing requested assistance. Her computer experience includes Microsoft Word, Excel, and Publisher, plus research and digital accounting software. Wade said she can also create and modify web pages.

In a conversation after the April 16 meeting Hines said her family in Marinette County includes daughter, Jamie (Mrs. Eric) VanDeWalle, of VanDeWalle farms, which will host the 2019 Marinette County Breakfast on the Farm in June. Jamie serves on the Marinette County Fair Board and Hines' has done some volunteer work for them.

The process that led to her hiring started a year ago, at the 2018 annual meeting, which authorized a referendum on making the clerk/treasurer position appointed rather than elected. The referendum was approved at the elections in November of 2018 and the hiring process began in March, when ads were placed inviting interested individuals to apply.

At the board's regular meeting on Sept. 11 Wade had reviewed the process that the Board used to seek applicants for the appointed position of Town Clerk/Treasurer and make the transition from elected to appointed. The three individuals who submitted applications and resumes were Stanek, Hines and Kathleen A. McCann. He said all three were very well qualified.

Following the interview process recommended by Wisconsin Towns Association, the Board met in closed session on Wednesday, April 3 to consider the candidates qualifications and the decision was reached for the appointment.

Wade said everything was done based on recommendations from WTA lawyers. He read the procedure at the April 11 meeting. An ad was placed in the Peshtigo Times inviting interested parties to interview for the position on Thursday, march 28 between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Applicants were Stanek, Hines and McCann, all Town of Middle Inlet residents.

All three submitted resumes and were thoroughly interviewed from 5 p.m. to 7:05 p.m., at 40 minutes per applicant. The board then held another special meeting following an electors' meeting on April 3 to deliberate the interviews, again in closed session. After deliberating an hour the board made a decision, Wade said, but based on WTA advice agreed not to release results until the April 11 board meeting. Prior to that meeting Wenzel did a background check, which was satisfactory, and at that meeting Wade requested a motion to offer her the position, which was made by Van, seconded by Wenzel and approved without dissent, after which Hines formally accepted the appointment.

Wade said she has an exceptional education background, but will need to do training with County Clerk Kathy Brandt and WTA on specific town clerk/treasurer responsibilities.

At the special meeting on April 3 electors authorized the town board to put the fire department's largely unused sub station on Pines Road up for sale. There also were special town board meetings on March 20 and March 28.

Stanek noted that additional disbursements of $77,336.98 were made in March, reflecting purchase of the replacement Equipment Van for the fire department, which had been approved by the board. Other disbursements for April totaled $19,215.02.

Also at the April 11 meeting, Wade reported that the seasonal road weight restrictions remain in effect; a number of downed road signs have been temporarily repaired pending improved weather conditions; washouts have been repaired on Rueff Road, McMahon Road and Raven Road. Wade thanked those who assisted in placing warning barricades due to high water.

He said frozen culverts on Hwy. XX, McMahon Road and Raven Road have been opened. Patching has been conducted on various roads and will continue as weather permits. Also, grading of gravel roads and addition of limestone will be added as weather permits.

The Town Board will meet at the Town Hall at 9 a.m. on Monday, April 29 for the Spring road checks followed by a meeting at the town hall to discuss possible projects and budget limitations for the coming construction season.

Wade said Wenzel will attempt to find a replacement for the Handicap Accessible Toilet unit at the Town Boat Launch.

Fire Chief Dave Johnston had previously asked the town board to authorize the Fire Department to dispose of surplus equipment. This was done without dissent, but with the provision that the Town Board would retain right of final approval.

Van reminded the public that the weekly trash collection will begin with the first Monday in May, and continue every Monday through the month of October.

The vehicular gate to the cemetery was to open on Monday, April 15.

Wade reported that legal counsel continues to work on issues related to the problem properties on Ellis Lane.

At the conclusion of the April 11 meeting Wade reminded the public of the Annual Town Meeting on April 16, and announced that following that meeting he planned an appreciation get-together honoring Stanek.

Cake and sodas were served after the Annual Meeting, but Stanek did not attend. Wade said Stanek did have the agenda and supporting information ready for the meeting although he was not present. In Stanek's absence, he used his authority as Town Chair to appoint Hines to record minutes of the annual meeting.

Stanek has been a town official for 25 years, starting with a term as town chair, followed by two terms as supervisor prior to taking on the clerk/treasurer post after retiring from his regular job in 2010 when he resigned his supervisor position to accept appointment to that post. He had been re-elected every two years since then until the elected position was abolished effective at midnight on Tuesday, April 15 when his most recent term ended.

Offers to purchase the subsidiary fire station on Pines Road will be opened at the Town Board meeting starting at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 9. Sale of the property was authorized at the special elector's meeting on April 3 and is being advertised in the Peshtigo Times.


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