Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Finance Committee Meeting Cancelled


The Iron County Board of Commissioners has
CANCELLED their Finance Committee meeting
scheduled for Thursday, October 18, 2012. The
next Finance meeting will be held on Thursday,
October 25, 2012, at 1:00 p.m. in the Commissioners
Meeting Room, Annex Addition, Iron County
Courthouse, Crystal Falls, Michigan.

Carl Lind
Finance Chair

Bill Vajk

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Senior Advanced Education

Most seniors, age 62 and over, I've run into since living in Iron
County have no idea that an advanced education is available to
them at no to little expense. You don't have to sign up for a
complete university degree, you can take a course at a time in
topics that interest you.

Northern Michigan University provides all on campus coursework
for free to seniors. From their webpage:

"Senior Citizen Scholarship

"Senior citizen applicants, aged 62 or older, are provided a full
tuition scholarship by Northern Michigan University. The
scholarship covers tuition only for on-campus classes; it does
not provide for books, fees or tuition for off-campus or Web-
based classes. To be eligible for this program, the senior
citizen should submit an application for admission (no
application fee) to the Admissions Office. Students should
then register for courses in the Student Service Center, where
they will be asked to provide proof of age."

Even the travel and books wouldn't be very expensive if
several people sign up for a course at the same time since
rides and textbooks can be shared.

I haven't been searching for other "senior" advantages
locally, and hope there are others like this available to us.
If any reader finds others, please let the editor know.

Bill Vajk

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Proposed Constitutional Amendment Prop 12-4

We wrote earlier favoring voting NO to all the Michigan
constitutional amendments that will be on the ballot this
year because as we interpreted that each and every one
is driven by private interests attempting to get a leg up
over the Michigan legislature. Why should we, the
electorate, restrict ourselves, and our elected legislature,
by making private interests part of our constitution?

That premise fails to pass the stink test.

Our take appears to be well supported by the respected
non-partisan group "The Center for Michigan." As we
review what they have written on the topic, we will issue
multiple articles here, referring to information in the
original assessment published by them.

Prop 4 is merely an attempt to shift state responsibility
to a union, the SEIU, because in the past the state failed
to assure that home care workers are reliable by nature of
not having a criminal record. Alas. not only does the state
remain involved because SEIU cannot access the criminal
registries, but the union, under the natural outcome of
the voters approving this constitutional amendment, reaches
into the pockets of workers and plucks out part of their

It must be borne in mind that many of these workers are
looking after a (note the singular) family member or a
friend who qualifies for monetary assistance. This is
part-time work and is usually limited, in nature, to a term
of a few years. For most of these workers it isn't a
lifetime career, and is most often a matter of receiving a
bit of compensation to ease the financial burdens imposed
by assisting a friend or family member.

The entire program, state-wide, appears to cost taxpayers
about $2 million a year.  With the imposition of a union,
this price is bound to escalate, costing Michigan citizens
more providing a service that is a state responsibility in
the first place, and part of those funds can be used to
promote further political action by the SEIU for their
own benefit.

Ask yourself this, as you enter the voting booth. In the
final analysis, has a labor union ever promoted anything
that didn't involve money?

The publisher and editor of this periodical agrees that
labor unions are a necessity to balance power between
employer and employee. That was their original intent
and that remains, in our opinion, their purpose forever.
It is our opinion that the state cannot oppress home care
workers who only work for a relatively short period
at a part-time endeavor to assist, usually, the elderly.

If there is to be a constitutional amendment on this
topic it should, instead, be one that defines the state's
responsibilities on this matter, while providing the
clients a free and easy telephone call channel to rapid
response assistance should things run amok.

For further information on this subject from The Center
for Michigan please see:

Bill Vajk

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Thuggery in Iron County politics?

Associate editor Ben Smith attended the Oct 9, 2012 meeting
of the Iron County Board of Commissioners. He filed the
following report that should be of concern to all residents:

At the Oct 9. 2012 Iron County Board Meeting an incident 
occurred that should be extremely offensive to the residents 
of Iron County.

Lisa Masnova, Assistant to the County Administrator, stood 
up and said that she had applied for a position on the UP 
State Fair Board and that someone had come over to her house 
and told her that if she didn’t remove her name from 
contention that “under the new board her job would be in 

First. Congratulations Lisa for standing up to the bully. For 
that’s what he is. I hope everyone learns a lesson here and 
does the same. Second, I don’t know who this individual is, 
although a name was mentioned, but if he has this much 
influence with certain members of the County Board that 
he can threaten her job, we all better take a very close 
look at these Board Members and the way they vote on 
issues. Something doesn’t smell right.

Ben Smith

Editor's note: Ben's report couldn't be better stated.

 In other news, Dr. Yarger, selected Chris Sholander as 
Deputy and Chris Sholander will be attending the 
"Medical Examiner's" Class November 9-ll 2012 in 
Lansing, Michigan.

While we appreciate that  Dr Yarger is a busy man, this
is another of those "smells funny" episodes here in Iron
County. Sholander's career has been with the Michigan 
State Police. The office of "coroner" in Michigan was
abolished by the legislature and the current requirements
for a "medical examiner" are that the office must be filled 
by a physician, which Sholander is not. In addition, the
statutes also state that, " Deputy county medical examiners 
shall be physicians licensed to practice within this state."
MCL 52.201a(1)

Furthermore, in a county with a total population smaller
than 13,000, it hardly seems reasonable that a deputy
medical examiner is necessary.

Ordinary logic, and state statute, prohibit Sholander from
holding the position of Deputy Medical Examiner and 
Mr. Sholander should, by action of the county board, be
advised that he is not sanctioned by Iron County for that
post, or to take the course in Lansing mentioned above.

Bill Vajk

Monday, October 8, 2012

Lets Be Clear

Al Perlongo is a putative member of Iron River City's city
council. He concurrently holds the position of fire chief
for the West Iron County Fire Department.

The city charter, with unusual clarity, states:

"No council member during the elected term shall hold any
compensated or appointive office or employment on or with
any intergovernmental agency or authority currently involved
in a contractual relationship with the City." [1]

Michigan, in its constitution, brings the state under the umbrella
generally referred to as Dillon's Rule. which states:

"Municipal corporations owe their origin to, and derive their
powers and rights wholly from, the legislature. It breathes into
them the breath of life, without which they cannot exist. As it
creates, so may it destroy. If it may destroy, it may abridge
and control."[2]

This city charter may not be waived or altered  by the city
council except with the approval of the state legislature. In
short, Mr Perlongo was required to resign one position or the
other at the time he was sworn in.

It is clear that the city council, and Iron River City, are not
self-policing as they are bound by the oaths of office that
they took. This is, in itself, a significant and a serious
problem that has led to all sorts of criminal mischief on the
part of the city. Mr. Perlongo was elected in 2011 followed
by swearing in and seated on the city council in January of
2012. Why has it taken 9 months for this issue to come to
a head?

He never should have been sworn in. His elected office
was forfeit on the first day he presented himself for office.
Whatever he has been paid must be returned to the city
coffers, and a review made of every vote in which he
participated to determine whether or not the decisions
of the city council are legal, and whether his presence
constituted a necessary attendance to constitute a quorum
at any meeting.

Let's be clear about this. Mr. Perlongo violated the city
charter, and the other members of the city council are
complicit in allowing the violation.

City charter: "Section 2.06. (....)

"     (a)     Vacancies.  The office of a council member shall
become vacant upon the member's death, resignation,
removal from office or forfeiture of office in any manner
by law.

 "(b)     Forfeiture of Office.  A council member shall forfeit
that office if the council member:
"(1)     Lacks at any time during the term of office for which
elected any qualification for the office prescribed by this charter
or by law;
"(2)     Violates any express prohibition of this charter;
(....) "[3]

The city council has given itself quite a job to do in correcting
any other errors that may have resulted from Mr. Perlongo's
illegal assumption of a seat on the city council. His delayed
resignation from the fire chief position does nothing to allay
this situation of illegality of his participation on the city council
to date.

And let's be clear about this too.  Once Mr. Perlongo forfeited
the seat on the city council, the only way that he can be seated
on the city council is by being appointed to the position after
he resigns as fire chief, and is sworn in once again. There is
nothing that can make his activities as a past putative member
of the city council legitimate or legal.

There's no excuse for what has happened. Sad to say, that's
nothing new where Iron River City is concerned.

Bill Vajk

[1]   charter section 2.09
[2] Clinton v Cedar Rapids and the Missouri River 
Railroad, (24 Iowa 455; 1868) and repeated in pertinent
federal courts.

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