Commission chair Randy Dallke’s behavior at last week’s meeting drew a written rebuke from a county resident who characterized his manner as “bullying.”
Reported in this paper, Dallke upbraided commissioner Dianne Novak at the March 20 meeting for allegedly giving lake resident Garry Dunnegan permission to cut a tree and dump rocks at Marion County Park and Lake, for which Dallke wanted the county to press charges against Dunnegan.
Novak, however, said she’d given Dunnegan permission only to spread grass seed on the ground.
Lake resident Jackie Volbrecht took issue with Dallke in an email she sent to him and also provided to the newspaper.
“You attacked a fellow commissioner for doing her job,” Volbrecht wrote. “You told Dianne Novak ‘she should not even talk to Mr. Dunnegan.’ What? Unlike the usual commissioners’ attitude of ignore and it will go away or scream with the same result, Dianne Novak seeks to serve her constituents. How demeaning and insulting to ask her if she understands the idea of working on a board! That is outrageous and should at the very least result in an apology to your fellow commissioner.”
Contacted Monday about the email, Dallke said the issue isn’t his manner, but whether commissioners discuss matters together.
“You cannot make promises to people out in the public,” Dallke said. “You bring things to the board. That’s the whole issue right there. We don’t make deals behind the counters or anything else. We make it at the table.”
As for Volbrecht’s perception of Dallke’s behavior, Dallke disagrees.
“I deal with the public and if I had some problems I would not have this job today,” Dallke said. “The job of the commission is to listen to the people and we all have to take it to the board.”
At the March 20 meeting, Dallke said he’d received a text message from lake superintendent Steve Hudson saying Novak had given Dunnegan permission to cut the tree.
“She didn’t flat-out just say he could cut down the tree,” Hudson said of the text he forwarded.
Part of Volbrecht’s email was pointed at Hudson.
“According to the article, Steve Hudson is ‘your man at the lake,’” Volbrecht wrote. “Well that explains his attitude! He is also inarticulate, rude and a bully. Perhaps you both should take some courses in human relations? Or seek a job that does not deal with the public.”
Hudson said Volbrecht is angry about an incident last fall.
“She’s just upset that I told her she couldn’t cut down trees to give herself a better view of the lake,” Hudson said. “And maybe I was rude about it.”
Hudson said lake residents had gotten permission to cut trees one time last year, but not for another time trees were being cut.
Volbrecht disputed that. She said a group of lake residents had met with former commissioner Dan Holub, who said they could clean up, at their expense, areas in front of their homes.
Volbrecht hired a tree trimmer to work, and Hudson drove over and started screaming at the worker, Volbrecht claimed.
“He jumped out with a can of purple paint and was screaming at him that he couldn’t cut any trees,” Volbrecht said. “We weren’t even cutting trees, we were cleaning vines, shrubs, and dead weeds.”
“Sometimes when I enforce those rules they take it personal, but I’m just doing my job,” Hudson said.
Volbrecht sent an email to Dallke in November. In it, she said, “We have been treated like vandals by Mr. Hudson.”
Volbrecht asked Dallke in that email for a copy of the county’s written policy pertaining to unsightly growth around the county lake.
As of Monday, she has still not received it, she said.