Linwood extends offer to senior coordinator candidate

Hostility on Senior Advisory Board leads to member’s resignation


Alice Pickering
Linwood Reporter

At the Nov. 26 Linwood Town Board meeting, Supervisor Carol Searing, liaison to the Senior Advisory Board, presented that group’s recommended choice to fill the Senior Coordinator position. The SAB on Nov. 25 interviewed five finalists for the position, selected from a pool of 25 applicants. The opening came about due to the resignation of Judy Hanna.

The Town Board discussed the preferred candidate. Supervisor Mike Halliday supported the SAB’s first choice. His motion included a wage of $18 an hour for a work week of between 20-25 hours. The board authorized Searing to make the job offer. The candidate will be named once an opportunity to respond has been provided. Searing will report to the board at its Dec. 10 meeting.

Three applicants for positions on the SAB were submitted on one “ticket” during a Nov. 18 meeting, but the vote of the current SAB members was split 4-4, so no additions were made, according to Searing.

Searing described discord at the SAB meetings, including raised voices and dissension among board members. Halliday observed that there continues to be a lot of “he said, she said” comments about what transpires at the SAB meetings.

Laura Hermann resigned from the SAB during the Nov. 26 Town Board meeting. She said she felt threatened by angry comments made by some members. Even with continued mediation between the SAB and representatives from the Anoka Mediation Service, she felt she could not remain on the board.

Mediation sessions are ongoing and Supervisor Phil Osterhus recommended they continue. The sessions are closed, with only board members and the mediators attending.

Kris Millerbernd, wife of Supervisor Bob Millerbernd, commented after attending at least one SAB regular meeting that the objective mediators should be attending the SAB’s regular meetings to observe the conduct and dynamics.

Accountant’s status

The Town Board approved full-time employment status for accountant and secretary Pam Olson. The change from probationary status was based on her on-job performance.

Supervisors applauded her work, which includes streamlining of processes for long-term savings, identifying errors to secure refunds, helping recover a duplicate park dedication payment of substantial size, and recovering state sales tax from which the township should have been exempt. In addition, Olson has fully implemented the Small City and Town Accounting System in anticipation of the upcoming audit process.

Firefighters honored

Officers of the Linwood Fire Department were set to recognize four firefighters at a special ceremony at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, at the Linwood Fire Hall. Chief Darryl Ballman said their quick thinking and skills helped on medical responses in which at least one life was saved. A survivor of one of the rescues will discuss the experience at the event, which is open to the public.

The board approved four new candidates for firefighters, as recommended by Ballman. They will participate in training sessions with the other volunteers before beginning training at the Anoka Training Academy.

Ballman also indicated that Olson has saved the department about $1,000 on the department budget by determining that subscription to cellphone service as a department is not necessary. Most volunteers already have their own phones.

Linwood Fire Hall will host Breakfast with Santa at 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7.

Other business

In other business, Road and Bridge Committee Chair Bob Beckman reported about action to complete road shoulder work in the Lyons Den Development. This has been a drawn-out process from the beginning of the project, and there has been no response from Sherco Development. A Nov. 18 deadline for the township to take action has passed. The township plans to move on the project, but completion this season may be tied to the weather.

Beckman also reported that a trapper has been hired to remove beaver in the stream between Linwood and Island lakes. A dam has blocked the stream.