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Economic development group's hiring request rejected by county

Staff writer

County commissioners Monday rejected an informal attempt by the county’s beleaguered economic development group to have the county pay to hire the group’s long-sought executive director.

“You’d have a county employee and no oversight,” commission chairman Dianne Novak said. “That really puts the county in a precarious situation.”

Both she and commissioner Kent Becker rejected the proposal. Commissioner Randy Dallke was absent. Despite the rejection, the group is on Monday’s agenda to present the proposal again.

The plan to offer Tennessee resident Susan Robertson a salaried position plus $500 to $600 a month for health insurance was hatched at a closed-door session of the economic development group last week.

After the development group’s meeting adjourned, one of the group’s six directors, Mike Beneke, unexpectedly announced that he had told chairman Clint Seibel he would resign Aug. 28.

Asked about it later, Beneke would not offer any reason for his resignation, saying only, “I guess it’ll be official on the 28th.”

After Monday’s county commission meeting, Novak said Beneke had informed her of his plans, but she said his resignation might have come during what she worried might have been an illegal closed-door session.

The resignation could not be made official because it was not a part of the economic development group’s original meeting. If there were a majority of a quorum, the activity would have been illegal.

When asked directly, Siebel said there were not enough members present to qualify as a majority of a quorum.

“No,” he said. “No, there’s no action, it’s all hearsay.”

However, when previously asked whether any other board members were present, he said there were “some other people there.”

The board’s next official meeting is Aug. 28.

“It was very unofficial, he has not officially resigned,” Siebel said. “I’ll have a better comment after.”

Last modified Aug. 15, 2018

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