Council approves police positions

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 17, 2002

With an unknown Local Government Aid (LGA) decision from the state government staffing issues have become a topic of debate.

The finance and personnel committee moved a motioned to filled three future vacant police officers positions. Two of the three will be vacated because of future retirement of two officers. The replacements would bring the department to 30 officers. The "conditional offers of employment" indicate that if the applicants passed the required tests, they would be hired.

"From the get go, public safety has been a priority," Board Member Mickey Jorgenson said.

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Council member Wayne Goodnature agreed with the public safety commitment but questioned the situation because of the anticipated cuts from the LGA.

"Perhaps if we are in this situation, we should take the "wait and see" attitude so we know where we are," council member Gloria Nordin said.

Because by state law the government cannot finished is fiscal year in negative, there is a possibility that Gov.-elect Tim Pawlenty may cut LGA from cities across the state to come up with the $356 million by June. A reduction on the LGA would call for some refinancing by the city.

"We have to handle each situation as it comes presently … I cannot out guess any of these people. I can only move forward," council member Dick Lang said.

Other topics on the agenda:

n Approval on the placing Technical Librarian Gayle Heimer as Interim director starting Dec. 30. Heimer will filled current director Chris McArdle-Rojo as she leaves at the end of the month to pursue a position in her hometown of La Crosse, Wis. Heimer will receive an additional $2.75 per hour until the new director is hired.

n The committee approved to buy a $5,000 advertisement in the second edition of Chamber of Commerce Someplace Special Magazine. The magazine, which summarizes aspects of the community is used by realtors, employers and information centers to attract business and visitors.

n The proposed sale of two acres of the Austin Industrial Park NE to D&R Star Amusements/ Richard Hawkins for $20,000. The anticipated growth of Hawkins company could add six to seven full-time positions according to a memo from Community Development Director Craig Hoium.

Hawkins plans to construct a 10,000 square foot office/warehouse facility. The committee decided to wait for the new council to revisit the proposal.

Roxana Orellana can be reached at 434-2214 or by e-mail at