Reduce mayor’s power, excessive dog deposits
By Barb Pert Templeton
The public comments portion of a recent Marine City Commission meeting prompted two residents to address officials with some very different concerns.
The city commission limits comments to five minutes and doesn’t actually respond to the individual addressing them at the meeting but will follow up as necessary.
During public comments resident, Phil Oleksiak said he had questions about the city’s Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct policies. He said the latter seems to give the mayor more power to decide what action to take and he felt that could open up to more people’s bias to go after people they don’t like.
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Oleksiak continued on saying the mayor being the spokesperson for the city shouldn’t mean the other elected officials shouldn’t be able to talk to the media. He also questioned the policy giving people only three to five minutes per person and allowing the mayor to interrupt them if they exceed that time.
Under commission behavior and comments, he said he felt like the policy now leaves it up to the mayor to initiate action against a commission member. Since there is a whole commission to do such things “too much power is actually given to our Mayor in this Code of Conduct and that power needs to be reduced greatly,” Oleksiak said.
“It’s good the city’s moving forward on a retention policy and some of the stuff in the Code of Conduct and Codes of Ethics I think is really good but those are a few of the issues I wanted to point out with them,” Oleksiak said.
Later in the meeting, officials looked at a preliminary draft for a new Code of Ethics, and City Manager Holly Tatman said the draft will eventually tie into updated human resource policies and procedures manual. Mayor Cheryl Vercammen said it’s just the first of many discussions about the policies that will be held going forward.
Commissioner William Klasssen said despite the documents being just a draft, he had a comment to share.
“I think we hire the city manager to run the city government and I looked at a section in here and I’d don’t know why we are giving away power to the mayor, the mayor has the same power as everyone else on the board, I think this has to be revised and looked at close,” Klaassen said.
City Attorney Robert Davis invited the committee members to send along their thoughts or concerns on the policy drafts and he’ll certainly look at all of them.
“Just to clarify on the Code of Ethics, I saw it all when you guys saw it so don’t think the mayor is changing anything or doing anything,” Vercammen said. “I was not consulted so get that idea out of your head.”
Scooper sorely needed
Marine City resident Rosalie Skwiers addressed members of the City Commission at its Feb. 17 meeting asking for some assistance to get dog excrement removed near her condo complex at Mariners Landings. She said she’s been a resident there for almost 28 years and she’s had a problem that’s escalating with dogs near her home.
“I think it’s an extremely legitimate complaint to want a dog on a leash, for a dog not to bark all the time and for there not to be excrement, dogs waste, along my driveway,” she said. “I’m just in a condo and when I back up there’s excrement along my driveway, sometimes as many as 12 piles.”
She feels like she’s on a teeter-totter because the management letter for her condo complex said she needs to call the local police and the local police tell her it’s private property so they can’t do anything.
“I’m not asking for a lot here I’ve got so many pictures in my phone of piles of poop to prove this, I’ve got way more pictures of piles of poop than people and that’s pretty insane,” she said.
She said other neighbors have told her to ignore it but it’s easier said than done simply due to the stench. She hopes the board will address it soon, she’s been told by several attorneys that it is the city police’s responsibility.
When contacted after the commission meeting Marine City Police Chief James Heaslip said his department has in fact addressed the issue. A $75 municipal civil infraction ticket was issued to Skwiers’ neighbor for a violation of city ordinance 94-12. He said that’s about all he can do since the complex is on private property.