July 1, 2010 at 8:37 a.m.

North Branch City Council appoints Meyer as interim chief of police

North Branch City Council appoints Meyer as interim chief of police
North Branch City Council appoints Meyer as interim chief of police

The North Branch City Council voted unanimously Monday night to offer the interim Chief of Police position to Lieutenant Dan Meyer. Police Chief Steve Forner took advantage of an early severance package the council provided recently as a budgetary measure to reduce expenses in 2011. Forner, so far, has been the only city employee to submit a severance package request. His last day will be July 31.

As Interim Chief of Police Meyer gets a monthly stipend of $500 as a wage increase. His appointment would be for six months, when his performance and the overall job description will be reviewed, under this week's council action. The action includes a 30-day notice allowing for either Meyer or the city to terminate the interim arrangement.

North Branch City Administrator Bridgitte Konrad recommended Meyer, saying he's already working closely with Forner and has "intimate knowledge" of department operations.

Konrad recommended an 18-month interim status "to maximize savings" but council consensus was a year and a half is too long for an interim appointment, for the city and for the lieutenant. Konrad had estimated that by not filling the lieutenant post, not buying a car, and eliminating some costs of other benefits the City of North Branch reduces its budget more than $80,000 for 2011 and the latter half of 2010-- if the interim appointment ran 18 months. Council opted to declare the interim chief for six months, and review everything at the end of January 2011.

The city and school district are working together to develop some "Safe Routes to School" using grants won through state and federal funding, but Parks Specialist Nate Sondrol advised council the projects need to be revised.

Bids for some of the trails, etc. came in over what was estimated so the package has to be "reduced in scope" and put out for new bids. Sondrol's request was support unanimously by council. Sondrol explained that the projects, which qualified for funding under the overall inter-modal transportation initiative, created by Congressman Jim Oberstar, will focus on pedestrian movement in the Grand Ave. and County Road 14 vicinity.

Council member Kathy Blomquist observed that under the last session, legislative actions affect Highway 95 and the I-35 bridge. They officially become Veterans Memorial Bridge and a segment of Hwy. 95 is designated in honor of Corpl. Jonathon Benson. Blomquist wondered if the city has signage on hand and a plan to name the amenities. Konrad said the official designations and identifying signs will be celebrated in ceremonies, when the whole interchange project is completed and set to be dedicated.

Council approved a request by the liquor store manager for filling two positions at the store. A cashier/clerk and stock person are needed. Deadline to apply is July 16. Bruce Kubat retired and another position opened up with a recent resignation.

Seasonal part time workers were approved for hire for the Public Works Dept. Scott Liebsch and Justin Bergerson got the nod.


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