ALPENA — Although the Alpena City Council did override some mayoral vetoes Monday, aldermen also accepted some and agreed to look at the issues again. And two aldermen resigned at the end of the meeting.
At a budget meeting in June, Alderman James Davis submitted his resignation and Amelia Shook offered a letter of resignation. Accepting those resignations was put off until the regular August monthly meeting.
Monday night, Mayor Theron McCammond began the meeting with a request to amend the agenda to accept those resignations at the start of the meeting. However, Alderman Ronnie Bailey said there was old business, including the vetoes, and asked that the resignations be taken up later.
One resolution the council adopted said that city cell phones not in use must be turned over to the city recorder/treasurer. McCammond vetoed that resolution.
He said phones used by police could include information the officers need immediate access to, and turning them over to the recorder/treasurer could put the phones out of reach.
Police Chief Nathaniel Hamrick told aldermen that if he takes a picture with the phone while on duty, it can’t be deleted in case of subpoena. In addition, he would be the one required to hand over the information under subpoena.
McCammond said he would rescind his veto if the council struck the passage requiring phone to be turned over to the recorder/treasurer, but aldermen felt someone had to be responsible for those phones.
Aldermen voted to revisit the issue to include that the recorder/treasurer would be responsible for seeing the phones are secured, whether in an evidence locker or other such facility where officers could access them.
An ordinance the council passed in June requires recorder/treasurer Roberta McAlister to work four hours a day at City Hall as the city clerk to keep the building open. McCammond vetoed that ordinance.
He explained Monday night that the recorder/treasurer position is unpaid and the elected official can’t make money from the city, thus the veto.
Davis said he feared that a future recorder/treasurer might not want to operate as city clerk as well, so aldermen decided to let the mayor’s veto stand and return with another ordinance that would allow the recorder/treasurer to operate as clerk rather than requiring it.
In other business, Alpena Fire Chief Russell Colbert addressed the council regarding flood lights installed in the city park, which is on the north side of the city limits near Long Creek.
Colbert thanked the council for agreeing to install those lights. He said it has greatly reduced unwanted traffic in the park.
However, the department uses the park as a landing zone for helicopters during a medical emergency and one of those lights obstructs a pilot’s view when landing.
He explained that the park is the best place for a landing zone. Pilots could use an open parking lot along Highway 62, but that could also be a traffic distraction as motorists slow down to watch the landing.
Colbert said one of the department’s firefighters is a licensed electrician and can design a switch that would allow officials to turn off that particular light at need. There would be no charge for the design.
In addition, Entergy would install the switch without charge if the city would buy the necessary materials, which he said would be about $200. Colbert said he would also need permission from the council to install the switch because the pole and light are city property.
The council agreed to grant permission and to take money from the street fund to pay for materials.
The final piece of business Monday night was the resignations of Shook and Davis. When the issue was brought up, Shook made the motion to accept their resignations and Davis seconded it. The vote was unanimous.