The Chippewa County Board of Commissioners met in Special Session on Friday, April 1, 2011 at 4:00 p.m. in the Courtroom of the Chippewa County Courthouse.

Present: Commissioners Ted Postula, Don Cooper, Jesse Knoll, George Kinsella, Don McLean, Jim Moore and Scott Shackleton

Also Present: Sheriff Robert Savoie, Brian Bartlett, Scott Brand, Deputy Kinnear, Micki Castagne, Robert Stratton, Dennis McShane, Under Sheriff Bitnar, John Lechner, Ann McKay, Judge Lowell Ulrich, Marlene Murphy, Jim German, Administrator, and Diane Cork, County Clerk

Additions/Deletions to Agenda

It was moved by Commissioner Cooper, supported by Commissioner Knoll, to approve the agenda as presented.

Public Comments

John Lechner spoke to the County Board about a deed that he believed was altered and he wanted the Prosecutor to file charges against the individual and the Prosecutor would not do it.

New Business

A. Building Renovation

Chairman Shackleton stated that when the county first bought the city/county building, he was in favor of selling the Annex and going down to two buildings. Since then, he has given more thought to the situation and a price of 2.5 million dollars does not make sense at this time.

Commissioner Kinsella thought it was the wrong time to spend 2.5 million dollars. He agreed that the 91st District Court needed to be made safe, efficient and convenient for the staff and residents.

Commissioner McLean expressed that the Building and Grounds meeting that was held had some good issue that were brought up: I.T. Department near water mains, storage space and the proximity of offices that work together.

He believed that these issues could be resolved by putting the I.T. Department in the space occupied by the City Police, moving MSU to the 3rd floor of the Courthouse and change the employee lounge in the City/County Building to a storage area. His goal is not to have the Annex. He would like to proceed with the project with adjustments.

Commissioner Cooper stated that the County hired someone to do a walkthrough of the project and came up with a plan, now that plan needs to be changed.

He also stated that the County bought the Poly Clinic for $565,000 and spent 2.7 million dollars for the renovation and purchase of the building. Now the County has bought the City/County Building for $750,000 and will put another 2.5 million in it for renovations. He didn’t think the County was gaining anything and didn’t know where the savings are coming from.

Chairman Shackleton would like to end up with a functional building (City/County) with the Prosecutor and Public Defender located in that building, have the City Police stay where they are and keep the Annex. With the City offices leaving the building, that would open up additional offices on the 2nd floor that could be used by the 91st District Court. He believed that a secure 2nd floor hallway should be built for security issues.

Commissioner Postula stated he believed that this meeting is a couple months late and the project should go ahead as it might save money.

Commissioner Cooper questioned asking for bids and then canceling them.

Commissioner Knoll questioned where the objections were last year. If the County keeps all three buildings, the public will accuse us of growing government.

Commissioner Knoll suggested that the City Police stay where they are and charge them rent.

He also noted that contractors will be looking for work and that the County should go ahead with the plan with alterations.

Chairman Shackleton noted that just to do the remodeling in the 91st District Court the cost will be $750,000 and to do the secure hallway, $250,000.

Commissioner Cooper stated that the City Police Department is the County’s problem. If they don’t move out, the renovation for that space on 1st floor can’t go forward. Commissioner McLean disagreed and stated that the Police Department is not the County’s problem and should move.

Chairman Shackleton stated that the public would like the Police Department to stay where they are and believed that the City and County could work together on this issue.

It was moved by Commissioner Cooper, and supported by Commissioner Kinsella, to put the project on hold, use Chairman Shackleton’s plan, make adjustments to see what the costs will be and work with the architects and the Building and Grounds Committee.

Discussion ensued on the sale of the Annex, security in the 91st District Court, the back-up in the Sheriff’s Department, the cost of renovation, storage issues and use of public dollars.

Commissioner Moore was in favor of keeping MSU and the I.T. Department in the Annex.

On a voice vote, Commissioners Moore, McLean, Postula and Knoll voted no. The motion failed

It was moved by Commissioner McLean, supported by Commissioner Postula, to proceed with the project as outlined and when the bids come in, and if the costs are to high, then we know that we can take out of the project at that point.

On a voice vote, the motion carried with Commissioners Cooper, Kinsella and Shackleton voting no. Motion carried 4-3.

B. Public Defenders Office

It was noted that the Personnel Committee had met on this same day and it was recommendation of the Committee to appoint Robert Stratton as Chief Public Defender and Jennifer France as the Assistant Public Defender.

Discussion was held on the applicants and qualifications.

On a voice vote, the motion carried with Commissioner Cooper voting no.

Commissioner Comments

Commissioner Moore commented on a conference being held on the Strategic Alliance Taking Action for Healthy Communities


Having completed the agenda items, it was moved by Commissioner Knoll, supported by Commissioner Postula, to adjourn. On a voice vote, the motion carried and the meeting did adjourn at 5:22 p.m.

Diane S. Cork, Clerk

Scott Shackleton, Chairman