2/7/2020 9:42:00 AM Water & Light complaint to go before NB City Council
The North Branch Water & Light commissioner facing anonymous complaints about his “conduct” will be invited to meet with the North Branch City Council.
The city council approved asking staff to reach out for scheduling the session with Chris Bibeau-- Council member Kathy Blomquist opposed. Council did not set a date or time for the sit down. (The utility commissioner hadn’t been notified the matter would be re-visited by the city council last week, he told the Press.)
Bibeau was the subject of a complaint council was made aware of by the city administrator earlier in January, referencing his conduct at a utility commission meeting January 10. The Press attended this session. (Story Jan. 16)
Apparently remarks uttered after the utility commission meeting adjourned were the focus of the complaint. (North Branch hosted a “Code of Conduct” and open meeting law refresher workshop for all appointees and council January 28.)
North Branch Council member Kathy Blomquist was also in the room at that utility commission meeting as a visitor. She told council last week there was nobody in charge of the utility general operations. Two utility commission members had voted to put the longtime general manager on leave as well as an office manager with no official meeting vote addressing the created managerial void.
Blomquist felt Bibeau was expressing “frustrations” with what had been taking place in water and light, when he said out loud that staff don’t have to take orders from what was then one utility commissioner making demands of employees.
Blomquist said if the full Water & Light commission had named a commissioner to act in an official capacity or given a commissioner authority to order staff to perform duties; this wouold be a different matter. But she said she doesn’t think there’s anything Bibeau has to come before the council and be held accountable for.
Council member Joel McPherson voted yes because he felt the discussion with Bibeau could “clear the air.”