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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Trish Schutte Named New Middle Inlet Clerk/Treasurer

Issue Date: June 24, 2020

Effective Wednesday, July 1, Virginia (Ginny) Hines will cease being clerk/treasurer for the Town of Middle Inlet and former Village of Pound Clerk/Treasurer Patricia (Trish) Schutte will take over that job, as well as the duties of town hall custodian. Salary for the part-time clerk/treasurer position is $1,500 per month. Pay for the custodian duties is contingent on town hall rentals.

At a special 9 a.m. meeting Tuesday, June 23, the Middle Inlet Town Board was officially informed of Hines' pending resignation, and named Schutte to replace her. Schutte will have a 6-month probationary period, and the appointment is for a term ending at midnight on April 16 of 2021. When the clerk/treasurer post was changed from elected to appointed in 2019 the board determined that appointments would be for one year terms.

The other item on the special meeting agenda was appointment of a new town hall custodian. The board had been told that Hines' daughter, Jamie Van De Walle, who had been town hall custodian, also intends to resign effective July 1, and Schutte agreed to also accept those responsibilities.

At the meeting, Hines explained that she has sold her house and on July 10 they will move to central Wisconsin, where she has accepted a new position, "...doing what I'm best at, which is being a university professor." After the meeting Town Chair Rich Wade said he understands Hines will be teaching at UW-Stevens Point.

Hines was hired by the town board as the town's first appointed clerk/treasurer on April 11 of 2019, and took over officially on April 17, when the term of elected Clerk/Treasurer Charles Stanek expired.

Notice of the special board meeting had been sent to the Peshtigo Times on Monday morning, June 22, 24 hours in advance. Hines, Wade and Town Supervisors Don Van and Ronald Wenzel were present in addition to Schutte and seven members of the public. Schutte's resume addressed to the town was dated June 22.

Wade introduced Schutte and said she was the only applicant. Schutte said she had been a Village of Pound resident for more than 37 years, and was clerk/treasurer there for over 19 years. She is currently office manager for Patz Maple Products of Pound. She said she and her husband, Kevin Schutte, are acquainted with Wenzel through the gun club. She has one adult daughter and no grandchildren.

Wade commented with all her years of experience as clerk/treasurer duties for Pound she should be able to handle the duties of that position for Middle Inlet.

Schutte agreed, although she noted rules for towns are a little bit different from those for villages. She added that she is a certified Wisconsin Municipal Clerk and has attended joint clerk and treasurer conferences held by the League of Municipalities and Wisconsin Towns Association. She is familiar with election procedures, and has had election training. She also is a certified water utility operator, but will not be doing that for Middle Inlet. According to her resume, she also has experience running various family-owned businesses.

A person from the audience asked Schutte why she had left her position at Pound, and Schutte replied, "Because we had a village board that had issues with me," and added, "I'm sure we sold a lot of issues of the Peshtigo Times."

Schutte had resigned abruptly from her clerk/treasurer position for the Village of Pound almost exactly a year ago, on June 3, 2019. Her letter of resignation was found by board members when they arrived for their monthly meeting that evening. It read: "To the Village of Pound Taxpayers: It has been my pleasure and an honor to have served as your Village Clerk-Treasurer for the past 19.5 years.

"To the Village Board: I can no longer work for people that do not trust me, do not communicate with me and spread false accusations about me. Therefore, on June 3, 2019, effective immediately, I resign my position as Village Clerk-Treasurer and terminate my employment with the Village of Pound," and concluded, "I submit this resignation with the same consideration that I have been given by this Village Board."

Schutte said she will continue working part time for Patz Maple Products and part-time for Middle Inlet. She also is an EMT and runs with the Coleman/Pound Rescue Squad. She said she generally has her on-call hours at night. Her home in Pound is about a 15-minute drive from Middle Inlet.

"I know I will do a really good job for you and for the taxpayers of Middle Inlet," Schutte told the board.

She noted she has experience with elections, and Hines told her Middle Inlet has a very competent chief inspector and 12 good poll workers.

Wenzel asked about cemetery duties. Hines said she will teacher her, adding that the cemetery job is "a little complicated, but you can do it if you can read a tape measure."

Schutte assured the board she can read a tape measure, since she and her husband, Kevin Schutte, were in the construction business for many years. She added that her husband had built the Middle Inlet Fire Department building many years ago.

Wenzel moved to hire Schutte for the job, Van seconded and all voted in favor. After verifying that she was willing to accept the job at the $1,500 per month salary, and discussing that

time is approximately 20 to 22 hours per week, Wade swore Schutte in.

She and Hines will both be at the next board meeting on Thursday, July 9. "I hate to lose her," Wade said of Hines, "But I think we were fortunate to find a new replacement quickly."

On the custodian appointment, Schutte said she assumed those duties went along with the clerk/treasurer post as they had at Pound.

Hines noted there had been three applicants for the custodian job last time, "and one was totally unacceptable." Motion to approve Schutte as custodian also was unanimously approved.

Before the meeting adjourned Wade said the town will need to re-do its annual meeting, which had been held on Thursday, June 11. He said they had done everything right at the meeting, but they were required to wait 60 days after Wisconsin Act 185 expired on May 12 to hold the Annual Meeting. He had spoken with Wisconsin Towns Association advisors and felt they must comply by scheduling a new Annual Meeting. That meeting was set or 6 p.m. on Tuesday, July 14. Wade predicted a 10-minute meeting.

Former Town Supervisor Roger Lieck commented that WTA had put out a bulletin on the 60-day wait for annual meetings.


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