BESSEMER — The Gogebic County Board of Commissioners reluctantly agreed to sign an interlocal agreement with the Western Upper Peninsula Alliance Wednesday for workforce development and training programs.
Board members have frequently expressed dissatisfaction that the Michigan Works program in the county has been reduced to a single employee, but they felt they had no choice but to sign the agreement.
The new WUP alliance, beginning July 1, also includes Baraga, Houghton, Iron, Keweenaw and Ontonagon counties.
The agreement replaces the Western Upper Peninsula Manpower Consortium, which had served the counties since 1974.
Board members noted they may withdraw from the alliance by giving written notice at least 120 days before the end of the alliance’s fiscal year.
“We'll sign it and play their game,” two commissioners groused.
Board chairman Dan Siirila voted against the agreement.
County board members Leroy Kangas and Jim Oliver will sit on the new WUP Alliance board.
In other business, the county board did not support Dickinson County's effort to have the proposed statewide non-motorized trail go through that county.
Commissioners noted a Lake Superior route is planned and heading farther south, into Dickinson County, would then shut Ontonagon County out of the trail.
The board placed on file a letter from the Dickinson County Board of Commissioners seeking support for the southern trail route.
In other business Wednesday, the county board:
—Granted Jenny Boline her 20-year longevity increase, retroactive to Nov. 30, 2011. She works in the office of Gogebic County District Court Judge Anders Tingstad Jr.
—Received no public comments on sheriff Peter Matonich's request for a $9,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development grant for a new patrol vehicle.
—Received a letter from State Sen. Tom Casperson thanking the board for its input that led to legislation that sets up a wolf hunt for the fall.