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Rules, attorneys, marijuana focus of Bessemer council - again


December 19, 2017

Ian Minielly/Daily Globe

LAWERYING UP, Bessemer style Monday evening outside the city council chamber. On the left is Steve Pence, attorney for Charly Loper, city manager and on the right is Jeremy Pickens, representing the city attorney who could not make it to the meeting. The two lawyers were having a chat outside the council chambers before the meeting kicked off. During closed session they represented their clients regarding Loper's contract and a stated disciplinary action two members of the council attempted to levy on Loper last week, according to Pence. Both sides were able to settle their differences and continue the relationship.


Bessemer - Richard Duncanson is not going quietly as he raised the issue of the city not signing his paperwork to establish a new medical marijuana facility under the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act of 2016, which went into effect Dec. 15. Duncanson claims the ordinances the city council has voted to repeal are still in effect because they do not go into effect until seven days after the results have been published in the paper, which happened on Dec. 8 and again on the Dec. 14.

John Frello, former city councilman said, the results of the meeting were sent to the paper before the meeting. Frello says under the law the results of a meeting must be published in full, with the vote totals, who brought forth the motion and seconded it with the signature of the clerk. The Daily Globe ran the partial results on the 8th and if you add seven days to that it would equal the 15th, effectively repealing the ordinances that allowed marijuana facilities into the industrial park on the day the new law went into effect.

However, the city resubmitted the results of the meeting to repeal Ordinances 356 and 357 with all the proper information on Dec. 14, which now does not go into effect until Dec. 21. Leaving a six day window for applications for marijuana facilities to be applied for under Ordinances 356 and 357. There is a question of whether the initial submission of the results of a meeting that had not happened yet is considered valid or whether the second submission is the valid one. Duncanson said he intends to reapply today.

In other news, the council voted 5-0 to accept the consent agenda, pay the bills, accept a document from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation regarding Bessemers' acceptance into the redevelopment Ready Communities of Michigan, which according to city manager Charly Loper is the result of a years worth of effort. The city now has to complete some more updates such as updating the website, zoning, and train the city commissioners.

The council voted 5-0 to table the land salves in the industrial zone until the dust has settled on the issue of marijuana and to postpone adoption of the Rules of Order until Loper can make some more modifications. The council's only non-unanimous vote, which was 4-1, was cast regarding the hiring of Ray O'Dea as the new city attorney.

Jeremy Pickens, representing O'Dea who was unable to make it to the meeting, said, "We do not have any issues with the hiring." The council voted to retain O'Dea and his law firm, despite Terry Kryshak and Loper disagreeing the hiring was done correctly. Linda Nelson read the charter and said as she understands the wording of the charter, Loper recommends to the council which departments need positions filled, but it is under the councils discretion who fills those positions.

The council according to Nelson and Pickens is not reliant or beholden to any recommendation from the city manager, who is solely responsible for identifying the need for a hire, but has no position in the hiring process. The council disagreed and moved on.

Mayor Adam Zak appointed Cheryl Olsen to the Parks and Recreation Commission and the city learned they saved $40,000 on a stretch of road that was fixed in 1987 and is still in good shape. The council agreed to make the auditorium ADA compliant by installing a ramp and replacing the doors.


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