2017-10-07 / Top News

Seven Considered for Police Chief

By Jacob A. Ball

Interviews with seven finalists who have been selected from the applicants to replace Mackinac Island Police Chief Brett Riccinto will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, October 16, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, October 17, in the council chambers at City Hall. All interviews are open to the public. A lunch break will be taken at noon both days.

Mr. Riccinto, whose emphasis on active patrols and community engagement are credited for improved policing, resigned near the end of summer for personal reasons he did not wish to disclose. He has expressed gratitude for the opportunity to head the department and for support from the community, and will remain on duty until Wednesday, November 1.

With an eye toward hiring the new chief before then, the city council’s Public Safety Committee pared down a list of 21 applicants to the seven finalists in a meeting prior to the Wednesday, September 27, city council meeting. They are Lawrence Horn of Okemos, Scott Pavlik of Macomb, Rachel Sadowski of Clayton, Steven Schmelling of Manistee, Darin Szilagy of Allen Park, Christopher Rupp of Bay City, and a law enforcement officer from Oakland County who asked not to be named publicly. Four of the candidates work for municipal police departments, one works in private security, and another is in a university police department.

Mayor’s assistant Tammy Frazier has confirmed interviews for all seven candidates next week.

The committee will make a final recommendation to council. Most of the 21 original applicants had law enforcement experience, but committee members eliminated two legal professionals whose compensation, they said, exceeds the Island’s police chief pay and who might not be interested in patrolling and enforcing municipal statutes.

In its regular meeting, the council discussed a complaint received from a disgruntled Island business customer and a notice of state permission for a proposed Shepler’s Ferry dock expansion, gave final approval to an enlargement of the historic district and an agreement with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for docking Mackinac Marine Rescue boat, and authorized a maintenance agreement for the city’s new backup diesel generator. It also approved permits needed for off-season building and maintenance projects.

The disgruntled customer complained about being charged $127, including $75 for custom printing, for a T-shirt and sweatshirt purchased from Monster Teez, a clothing store. The transaction may have violated a city ordinance, passed earlier this year, requiring businesses to provide written invoices, spelling out the charges, for customers to sign.

Dan Loznak, an attorney representing the store’s owners, said the problem resulted from a staffing change after Labor Day, when many summer workers return home for school. Mr. Loznak apologized for the mistake, said the proper procedures now have been explained to all employees, and produced copies of the store’s summer invoices to prove it had been complying with the ordinance.

Councilor Anneke Myers, unconvinced the business owners had acquired signatures for all custom work, asked permission to review the invoices at the end of the meeting. Councilor Jason St. Onge said it seems as if every complaint received by the council in last the several years has been related to the same owners.

The owners provided the complainant with a full refund, however, and are committed to improving their compliance with the ordinance, Mr. Loznak said.

“We don’t want to break business practices ourselves, we want to come back,” he said.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality notified the city it has issued a permit for dredging, dock construction, and erection of two roofed areas for passengers and luggage as part of a project in which Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry will construct an expanded dock this winter. The company has city approval for the project, to be completed by April 2018, but still must obtain a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Resulting from council approval, the Market and Main Historic District will expand to include docks, structures, and shoreline on Haldimand Bay.

The agreement for Mackinac Marine Rescue to occupy Slip 9 at the Mackinac Island State Harbor during the summer was approved only after considerable discussion. The slip, lower and wider than the others, to accommodate handicapped users, will ease medical evacuations, according to Mackinac Marine Rescue member Sam Barnwell. The boat previously had docked at a normal slip at the harbor, which had made some medical evacuations more difficult.

Mayor Margaret Doud, at a September 26 Finance Committee meeting, had expressed concern the cost for use of the dock could go up as early as 2019 under the agreement. The city will pay the state $4,100 for it next summer. She said she will propose to the Department of Natural Resources a contract change to spell out the use charge in future years.

Under the city’s new generator maintenance contract, ASCO Power Services, a subsidiary of the manufacturer, will provide yearly scheduled maintenance, access to priority emergency service, response to emergency calls at no additional cost, discounts on replacement parts and labor, and access to an emergency stock of transfer switches. ASCO has agreed to perform free infrared scans to determine if a transfer switch is functioning properly and to identify hot spots affecting the safety and efficiency of a unit.

A transfer switch automatically engages the generator to supply power when there’s an outage. The maintenance agreement results from research by building inspector Dennis Dombroski following problems that developed in the connection between the transfer switch, the new generator, and the main power line for city buildings on Market Street during final installation of the generator early last summer.

The council approved six temporary motor vehicle permits, effective October 2, for Bacco Construction of Iron Mountain to repave Market Street from Cadotte Avenue to M-185, repair a large pothole on Wendell Street, and undertake a few private paving jobs. It approved a twoday permit, starting October 11, for Belonga Excavating of St. Ignace to undertake a West Bluff project involving paving of a layer of reclaimed asphalt before winter.

Substantial discussion led to approval of two permits for Belonga to clear land and dig foundations for two new homes. One of them was donated to the city by Andrew Doud and Robert Benser and will be moved from downtown to a vacant lot on Third Street in Harrisonville. The other is for Tim Westin of Murrieta,

California, in the Woodbluff subdivison. Some councilors wanted to deny the permits because the projects are to begin before the customary November 1 off-season construction starting date. A revised ordinance requires applicants to prove it would be a hardship for them to wait until then.

Island contractor Matt Myers said, however, building permits have been issued specifying when the projects are to start and be completed. Councilor Anneke Myers abstained from the approval vote, saying she had a conflict of interests because Mr. Myers is her husband, and Councilor Kay Hoppenrath voted against issuing the permits.

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