Hastings to lead Wyoming FD

The current assistant chief picked in 3-2 vote over
deputy chief


Alice Pickering
Wyoming Reporter

Wyoming’s new fire chief was elected at the Oct. 2 council meeting. John (J.J.) Hastings was selected by a vote of 3-2, to replace Chief Dennis Berry, who is retiring.

The selection process narrowed the applicants down to two “in-house” candidates: Deputy Chief Dan Dahlager, a 24-year department veteran, and Assistant Chief Hastings, who has 12 years of service.

Earlier in the selection process the council was invited by Police Chief Hoppe to sit in on the interviews.  Joe Zerwas said the council heard the interviews and hired the city administrator, police chief and public works superintendent, and believed that the council should have the final vote on this position, as well.

Linda Yeager had similar comments, but also felt it was an insult to invite the council to participate, then not allow the council a real voice in the choice of candidates.

Zerwas’s motion to select Dahlager as fire chief was seconded. It was defeated by a vote of 3-2, with Yeager voted in favor of Dahlager, as well.

Mayor Eric Peterson tempered this with comments that Hoppe, as public safety officer, should have a choice with regard to different styles of leadership. Roger Elmore leaned toward Hastings, believing this essentially a staff recommendation.

Steve Zerwas believes that a department head has a better view of requirements for specific chain of command and working relationships. He “doesn’t think the city council should pick someone [Hoppe] is to be supervising.”

Elmore made the motion to promote Hastings “as per the staff recommendation.” Hastings was chosen as fire chief with the votes of Elmore, Peterson, and Steve Zerwas. Yeager and Joe Zerwas voted against.

Other Business

Council members considered two bids for construction of the Goodview Avenue skate park. They awarded the contract to W. Gohman Construction Company; in the amount of $139,872. It was the lower of the two bids.

Yeager asked to see the final design or drawing of the skate park, before voting on the contract. A sketch had not appeared in council packets. Elmore said the Park Board approved the final design and it was on the website.

Online Park Board minutes for July 2 show discussion of final design of the skate park to be “on website soon.”  The Aug. 6 minutes reported that the “engineer is checking the plan.” The most recent minutes from Aug. 27, discuss minimal contributions for a contributor to have his/her name noted on a plaque. The September agenda and minutes have not been posted yet.

Design cost for the park was $14,000. Yeager noted that the council had authorized $150,000 for the skatepark. Elmore believes there are enough funds available for the project.

The vote authorizes Mayor Peterson and City Administrator Craig Mattson to act on behalf of the city to sign contract documents. The vote was 4-1. Yeager voted against the action.

Council approved Payment Voucher #2 to Forest Lake Contracting, Inc. for the TH-61 Intersection Improvement Project. This is project to improve the intersection of 250th Street and Th-61.

At the end of Fenwick there is no room for a cul-de-sac, but a space can be configured to accommodate a turn-around for snow plows. Other than that there are only a few punch-list items which need to be completed before the project is declared finished.

Amount of the payment is $311,830.13.  Council approved the payment by a vote of 5-0.

In addition to this payment, the council approved the final pay voucher (#1) to Person Bros., Inc. for the 2012 Crack Filling and Seal-Coat Project for the city.  Council members unanimously approved the $60,000 payment.

November’s general election will result in a rescheduling of the regular council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 6 to 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 8.

Scheduled for the same evening is a public hearing to consider a Minnesota Investment Fund Grant Application. The application is to be made to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Minnesota Investment Fund. The city will be making the request on behalf of Polaris, Inc.

The council unanimously approved the list of election judges for the general election. There are 17, with Robb Linwood serving as head judge. The others are Cheryl Bengston, Sandy Berry, Lisa Eickman, Marlene English, Barb Grams, Bill Keilty, Nicole Miller, Phil Moser, P.J. Richardson, Evelyn Rodrique, Annette Storm, Kristi Strett, Stephanie Tiedeman, Mary Utecht, Joyce Winnick, and Maureen Wolhaupter.