MENOMINEE — The Menominee County Board of Commissioners Tuesday at its reorganizational meeting voted on the meeting schedule for 2019. It was decided that board meetings will be held at 6 p.m. in both the cities of Menominee and Stephenson.

A motion to hold the meetings in both the Menominee County Courthouse, in Menominee and the MSU-Extension in Stephenson and for the meeting to occur at 5 p.m was made by Commissioner Jan Hafeman. 

Several commissioners expressed opposition.

Commissioner Bernie Lang said the courthouse has security measures the annex cannot provide. “We’re wasting (the security) by not having our meetings at the courthouse. I do not believe we should have our meetings scattered around the county.”

“The county seat is in Menominee, so our meetings should be at the courthouse,” said Commissioner Larry Schei.

However, other commissioners said they felt it was important to have meetings in the further end of the county.

“I can appreciate the security issues,” Commissioner Steven Gromala said. “However, at the same time this body should go to the people, rather than expect the people to always come to us... Maybe that’s the mid-county in me.”

Hafeman concurred, saying the alternating meeting locations is more fair for both the commissioners and people of the county who live on the northern side of the county. She said some county residents may be making 90-mile trips just to attend the meetings if they were all held in Menominee.

David Prestin, who was in favor of alternating locations, brought up a different issue with the proposed schedule.  He would be unable to make a 5 p.m. meeting time. Prestin explained he is attending a paramedic program in Escanaba, and will be making the trip directly from his classes to the county board meetings for a while. “I think my schedule may become more flexible in June,” he said.

Hafeman said the board should not choose a time knowing that it does not work for one of the commissioners. “I think it is only right that we set this, as we had before at 6 o’clock.” 

Commissioner Larry Phelps said he would like to further look at the possibility of keeping the meetings at the courthouse. However, since the motion was already made for the alternating locations, the first motion would need to fail before a different option could be voted on. 

The motion, which was amended to accommodate Prestin’s schedule, to hold meetings in both the City of Menominee and Stephenson at 6 p.m. passed with a 5-4 vote. Commissioners Larry Johnson Jr., Gerald Piche, Hafeman, Gromala and Prestin voted in favor of this schedule. Commissioners Bill Cech, Phelps, Schei and Lang voted against it.

Piche said the schedule could be looked at again and amended at a later date, if the board so chose.