Dickinson objects to guidelines for library liaison

IRON MOUNTAIN — Trustees appointed by Dickinson County Board to make decisions in the best interests of the county library are considering rules for the conduct of the board’s liaison to the library panel.

The idea has drawn a cold reception from the county board, which decided Monday to send a letter of concern to the library board.

“This is garbage,” Commissioner Joe Stevens said after hearing Commissioner Ann Martin’s summary of the library proposal.

Martin, the current liaison to the five-member library board, has in the past raised controversial issues during county board meetings, relaying concerns from constituents about whether library materials or programs are appropriate.

The library, Martin said, proposes the liaison be required to refer comments to the library board or its director, rather than speaking in public. Input of this type from the liaison would be expected in writing, she said.

Martin described the proposal as “an effort to control information and discussion.” No action has been taken, she said, adding guidelines will be considered at the next scheduled library meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 12, at the main location in Iron Mountain.

Martin said she would not abide by the rules unless approved by the county board.

Commissioner Barbara Kramer said the county might seek a legal opinion on the rules, which she said may breach First Amendment rights.

Only Commissioner John Degenaer Jr. acknowledged a library point of view, saying the liaison is not a voting member of the library board. It is meant to operate independently, he said.

Chairman Henry Wender ended the discussion by suggesting a letter be drafted to the library board saying “how we feel.”

There was no direction on the letter’s contents, but the board agreed to go forward with that approach.

In other action, the county board:

≤ Learned from Controller Brian Bousley that a medical examiner’s office will open Jan. 1 at Ford Airport. The county and Dr. Martin Cristanelli are prepared to offer autopsy services to other counties in the region as well.

≤ Scheduled a meeting for 2 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5, in the correctional center conference room to review a final draft of the 2024 county budget. A public hearing will be scheduled later in the month.

≤ Approved Friday, March 8, and Saturday, March 9, as the dates for a professional kite-flying demonstration at Lake Antoine. Sponsored by Lake Antoine Park Partners, Kites Over Awesome Lake Antoine will be in its third year. The free show was initially set for Feb. 24, but the date was changed this fall to avoid a conflict with the Feb. 23-25 Pine Mountain Continental Cup ski jumping tournament. “We’re hoping we have good ice,” Kramer said.

≤ Announced these committee openings: two partial terms on the Economic Development Corp.; a partial term on the Solid Waste Management Planning Committee; two partial terms on the Planning Commission; and a partial term on the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority. For more, go to https://www.dickinsoncountymi.gov/.


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