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Pound Village Special Meeting On Feb. 11

Issue Date: February 7, 2019

At an emotionally charged meeting on Monday, Feb. 4, Pound Village Board resumed discussion of concerns over audits; employee benefits - including insurance, vacation and holiday pay for Public Works Director Kevin Schutte; a proposed employee manual outlining public works director duties.

The board adopted an ordinance that allows the Fire Department to legally have its own bank accounts, and Trustee David Navis withdrew his proposed resolution aimed at reducing the cost burden to village water utility customers.

Also discussed at length was ordinance enforcement, in regard to concerns and complaints over removal of unlicensed vehicles while the property owner was in jail. In addition to being Public Works Director and Utilities Operator, Kevin Schutte is Code Enforcer for the village.

The meeting began with a new seating arrangement. Village President Terry Earley sat at the head of the table in the place usually occupied by Clerk Treasurer Patricia Schutte. Clerk/Treasurer Schutte was seated in the audience next to her husband, Public Works Director Kevin Schutte.

Trustee David Navis objected to wording in the minutes of the January meeting that referred to the audit he requested as "a "forensic' audit of fraud."

"I did not use the word fraud...I did not say that when I made the motion," Navis declared, although he agreed that is a type of work that the audit firm Sikich does.

Schutte asked what he wanted her to write. Earley said to take out the words, "this would be a forensics audit of fraud."

Navis said with the wording corrected he would make a motion to approve the minutes and Trustee Mary Meyer seconded and the meeting moved on.

Fire Chief Turner Gross explained a proposal for department members to acquire a 5-acre property in Beaver with plans to put up a small sub-station there sometime in the future. He received board blessings to investigate options for setting up a fire district in line with discussions that had begun in Crivitz last month. He said there might be 20 to 30 ways to set up a Fire District. One is the model by which the Porterfield/Grover/Harmony Fire Department operates, but there are many other ways by which it could be done. He said if the Fire Department approved at its meeting he would plan to set up a fire district research committee consisting of town and village people representing their home municipality. Discussions will likely include towns of Brazeau, Pound and Beaver and Villages of Coleman and Pound.

Later in the meeting Navis said he had been contacted by Joel Rennie, who is working on the village audit for 2016, 2017 and probably 2018. Rennie had told him he had been waiting for the Village asset list that it has been required by federal audit standards for several years. He is working on the 2016-17 audit and had just gotten the asset list in November of 2018.

Navis was upset that the list Rennie said Schutte sent to him listed numerous tools and equipment specifically, but then included a total of $225,000 for miscellaneous tools for the village itself, fire department and Water Utility. He said the water and sewer list has been kept up every year, and has 11 pages of assets, but the village General Fund has only two pages. The Public Safety fund lists a round figure of $150,000 for miscellaneous tools and equipment, but each of the trucks and many other things are also listed separately. Clerk Schutte said she had used an old list that probably came from Rennie, and said some of the things she guessed at, "some were bought before I was born."

"I want a list....What miscellaneous tools come up to $150,000?" Navis asked. "What is all that?" He said the village doesn't have a garage big enough to hold that many tools in addition to the ones listed separately. He finally ended the discussion with a request that Rennie be asked to attend the March Village Board meeting. No formal action was taken, but other members of the board appeared to agree with that idea.

There was considerable heated discussion on benefits and job duties for Kevin Schutte. That discussion was ended with a suggestion by Meyer, echoed by Trustee John Homontowski that they should have a separate board meeting on that subject. That meeting, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11 will include how to pay the insurance benefit so it is tax free, as well as vacation and holiday pay. Currently there is no vacation or holiday pay, and Schutte is paid a stipend of $663.94 per month toward his health insurance cost. Rennie has advised that mode of payment must be changed so that Schutte is not paying income tax on it.

Board members also asked to see time cards, and to see fire department financial reports each month.

As to vacation time, Earley said the board needs to know who does Schutte's work when he is gone and how much it costs before they can approve any changes. He is to bring an employee's handbook from the Village of Lena to use as a model for discussions at the Feb. 11 meeting. That meeting is to be preceded by a Utility Commission meeting at 5:30 p.m. Both meetings will be at the village hall.


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