Marenisco loses police chief applicant
December 29, 2020
By P.J. GLISSON
“Jason Roberts (of Ironwood) was hired by Ironwood Public Safety,” said Supervisor Bruce Mahler, who retired as chief at the end of August and then was elected to his current role after former Supervisor Richard Bouvette retired.
One of two remaining applicants for the open seat as chief is Jesse Yesney of Bergland, who currently works as a full-time deputy for the Gogebic County Sheriff’s Office. He also provides part-time support in patrolling snowmobile trails during winter months in Marenisco Township.
While chairing the Dec. 21 meeting, Mahler offered his own view as to why the township did not get more applicants.
“We can’t pay a person what they should be paid for that job,” said Mahler. “Every deputy in the sheriff’s department makes five or six bucks more an hour than what we pay.”
Hence, he said the only people who likely will show interest in working in Marenisco will be persons new to the field who wish to get experience before leaving for a better job or people such as himself, who took the position after retiring from other employment.
“So we’re kind of in a quandary,” he said.
Another problem Mahler noted is that pending township revenue also is unclear. “We still have no idea what our revenue sharing is going to be,” he said. “So we don’t know where we are or where we will be.”
Mahler commended Tauer for his diligence in working full-time as a sheriff’s deputy and then also working weekends in Marenisco, handling paperwork.
According to Tauer, the Sheriff’s Office — which also has stepped up surveillance and support in the township during the interim — has fielded dozens of local complaints that normally would be handled by a full-time Marenisco police chief.
“We have to move forward,” said Trustee Kelly Dunbar, who added that the Sheriff’s Office does not want to, and should not have to, deal with local ordinance issues.
An additional problem is that, as Mahler said, “Nobody wants to be a cop today.”
He added that one deterrent in more recent times is a call by some factions to “defund the police.”
Board members voted to table taking any action on the police seat until their first regular meeting of the new year.
The board also:
—Voted to approve Kathy Jo Koval as Gogebic County’s designated assessor. Koval, who also is the county’s equalization director, will step in if Marenisco Assessor Roman Tauer ever needs back-up. The state is requiring each county to appoint someone to the newly-created position of designated assessor. All governmental units within the county will be required to pay an $85 retainer fee per year in case they ever need to hire Koval.
—Voted to advertise a vacancy on the Planning Commission due to the resignation of Marge Rayner.
—Voted to accept a letter of agreement in relation to township union employees receiving a 2.5 percent raise for the coming year, retroactive to Nov. 1.
—Voted to pay an annual salary of $2,500 for the position of Marenisco Township’s zoning administrator.
—Heard Mahler commend Clerk Donna Kenney for her dedication in serving the township, especially in relation to added work after the passing of former Treasurer Diane Dean. Kenney also commended new Treasurer Kathy Leonard for her commitment to learning the role.
The board’s next regular meeting will be on Jan. 18. Due to pandemic restrictions, persons wishing to attend should first call the Marenisco Township Hall at 906-787-2463.