• Last modified 573 days ago (Sept. 28, 2017)


Mysterious whiteboard makes mark on meeting

Staff writer

A white marker board inscribed with green lettering greeted courthouse visitors Monday morning:

“Welcome All 2nd District Voters and Residents to our Commission Meeting Except Mike Beneke,” the marker board read.

Below was written, “Diane Novak:”

The sign, which misspelled commissioner Dianne Novak’s name, was not present at the start of Monday’s county commission meeting at 9 a.m., but appeared sometime before an executive session around 11:45 a.m. Larry Cushenberry brought the sign into commission chambers so commissioners could see and comment on it.

Beneke was one of many people who arrived at the meeting during the time that the sign appeared. He was not present when commissioners discussed the sign.

While at the meeting, Beneke presented an undisclosed amount of money from his father’s estate to help pay for EMS building repairs.

Employees in the clerk’s office said they did not know who placed the sign, and video from surveillance cameras would only be available if someone files a complaint about the sign.

Beneke returned to the courthouse Tuesday morning, where he was seen carrying the sign from the clerk’s office out the door of the building. He said the sign was not his.

“What’s wrong with that?” he replied when asked why he was taking the sign if it did not belong to him.

“It’s funnier than crap,” Beneke said of the sign listing his name.

Last week, commissioners discussed adding a code of conduct for meeting attendees. The discussion was prompted by a statement made prior to the Sept. 11 meeting by Beneke about Novak’s interactions with county clerk Tina Spencer. Beneke’s statements, including, “If you belittle her one more time, I’m pretty good at getting something done if I want to put my mind to it. You can laugh it off all you want to,” were perceived by some to threaten Novak.

Transfer station

Commissioners met with transfer station director Bud Druse and Bruce Boettcher of BG Consultants to discuss options for the deteriorating transfer station.

Four options include keeping the existing building and repairing the floor; adding onto the existing facility and creating a drive-through; building a new facility north of the existing one; and building a new facility at the existing southern shop.

Discussion focused on building a new structure that would be used temporarily while the transfer station floor is fixed. The most likely locations are the southwest corner of the current transfer station property or purchasing property across Washington St. to the north.

The structure could have a permanent purpose after the transfer station’s floor is fixed.

Boettcher said any project could take two to three years to receive permits.

Commissioners will hold another work session on the transfer station on Monday.

Attorney conflict

Donella Humphries read a statement to commissioners about her difficulties locating missing papers to her father’s estate in which she also accused former county attorney and current county counselor Susan Robson and county attorney Courtney Boehm of having conflicts of interest with their positions.

Humphries said the state attorney general office directed her to the county attorney office because the missing documents, including the trust, should be at the courthouse, but the attorneys did not help her.

Robson and Boehm said the county attorney is a prosecutor of law enforcement cases, not a document locator for individuals. They suggested Humphries try the register of deeds or clerk of the district court.

The attorneys also said there is no law prohibiting part-time public prosecutors from working in private practice, the topic of one of Humpries’ accusations of conflict of interest.

Humphries said she had already gone to the deeds office for a description of the land and listing of trustees and claimed county employees did not assist her.

She said she has been trying to find the document for eight years. While she has three sisters who are presumably also trustees, she said she is not on good speaking terms with them.

Dallke said the county will address a letter to the state attorney general asking if the county has a responsibility to help Humphries. Becker said the issue would best be solved by a civil attorney.

In other business:

  • Commissioners held five minutes of closed session at Novak’s request with Robson and Spencer to discuss potential litigation.
  • Another five minutes of closed session had health department administrator Diedre Serene to talk about personnel.
  • A $16,246.25 fuel bid from Agri Trails Coop of Navarre was accepted.
  • Commissioners will meet at 2:30 p.m. Thursday to open bids for the 330th Rd. project.

Last modified Sept. 28, 2017