The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Two new members join Iron County Aging Unit board


Ryan Jarvi/Daily Globe

IRON COUNTY Aging Unit board of directors' newly elected chairperson Dorothy Wahner, center, discusses business at the annual board meeting Wednesday as Jeanne Thomas, left, and Mary Kay Welch listen.

HURLEY - The Iron County Aging Unit board of directors on Wedneday confirmed two new members and elected individuals to positions, but confusion over election processes resulted in an "at-large" member seat remaining vacant.

There were two nominations for the position of vice chair, but both nominees declined the seat.

Jeanne Thomas was re-elected secretary-treasurer, and Dorothy Wahner, of Mercer, was elected new committee chair.

"I really hope to get everybody working together better," Wahner said. "And I think with some of the additional new members, that's more likely to happen. I'm looking forward to that; serving all of the older adults in the county."

Iron County Board of Supervisors member Paul Mullard, of Hurley, was reappointed to the board, and supervisor Opal Roberts, of Mercer, was newly appointed to replace supervisor Jack Prospero, of Hurley.

At the board's meeting on March 13, confusion over election processes resulted in the board holding two votes - one for a Springstead member and another for an at-large member, intended to represent the entire county, rather than a specific city or location.

According to the board's meeting rules, there must be an announcement prior to voting that there will be two separate elections.

"If you haven't announced that it's going to be two separate votes, you have to take the top two vote-getters," Wahner said. "Well, they didn't do that."

In the first election, Paul Gottwald received four votes, John Sendra two and Jeanne Walston one, according to the board's meeting minutes.

When the second election was held, Walston received six votes and Sendra two for the at-large seat.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, the voting process was questioned. Board members sought advice from counsel and were told to have a new vote.

A motion was passed to rescind the action taken earlier in the meeting.

Board members then voted unanimously to approve Gottwald as a member, which was followed by a separate election for the at-large seat. Walston received six votes and Sendra one.

However, at the April 17 meeting, supervisor Vic Ouimette, of Mercer, said the board's bylaws are to be governed by Roberts Rules of Order.

"Roberts Rules of Order says that a motion to rescind an election is an illegal motion," Ouimette said at the April 17 meeting. "You can't rescind an election."

Under that rule, Sendra would be the second new member. Board members said they were doing what they were told under legal counsel.

The board is waiting to fill the position until they hear back from the county's attorney, Michael Pope.


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