June 22, 2016

Commissioners fill county positions

By Daniel Arens

Although the process of appointing people to fill certain non-elected county positions was relatively routine and simple, it highlighted the disagreements between the county commission and certain department heads.
Most of the appointments that the commission made were standard, with only one or two candidates to fill or refill spots, and with nominations and decisions unanimous. However, when it came to the county’s planning and zoning board, the commission determined it was time for a change.
Dwight Berger, Wesley Klein, and Lawrence Taylor were up for reappointment consideration by the commission. All three of them were replaced, with the change in members to take effect starting July 1. Berger was replaced by Rick Scheid, Klein by Gerald Pischel, and Taylor by Michael Eslinger.
There has been ongoing tension between zoning board members and the county commission. Berger is currently campaigning for a seat on the commission against incumbents Bill Tveit and Duane Scheurer. Frank Bitterman is also running in the county commission races.
Other appointments made by the commission include Sharon Moon and Laurel Tveit to the Library Board; Alvina Hagler, Judith Lang, and Allen Schmidt to the Mercer County Housing Authority; Jayme Boeshans and Loyal Karges to the Weed Board; and Rachel Grimm and Cyndi Zueger to the Mercer County Policy Committee.
All decisions for appointments, including the planning and zoning board members, were unanimously approved by all commissioners. Commission chairman Bill Tveit abstained from voting for library board appointments since his wife Laurel was running for one of the positions.
Candice Strand, superintendent of the Mercer County Regional Landfill, again discussed issues related to employee dumping at the site. She recently showed a video to Scheurer of issues with employees, including the fact that a certified individual was not present at the dumping, in violation of century codes. The landfill is paid for by tipping fees rather than taxes, so allowing employees to dump for free hurts the budget.
Scheurer moved to have county employees and commissioners also pay the required dumping fee, as well as enforce no dumping in the landfill after hours unless someone certified is present on site. Strand brought up replacing the padlock at the landfill gate, but Scheurer noted that a lot of money was used to pay for new padlocks only a couple years ago, and that people should take personal responsibility for not misusing the landfill.

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