Dubois Town Council rejected ‘precedent setting’ sled dog banner request

By June Bonasera, County 10 News
(Dubois) — The Dubois Mayor and Town Council met in regular session for the first time in 2012 Wednesday night with several annual administration items on the agenda plus a few action items. Action items included the appointment of town attorney, municipal judge and town clerk. Eight people were in the audience, including three CWC presenters and two members of the press.

The audience at the Dubois Town Council's first meeting of 2012.

Reports were presented from the following officials, departments and organizations:

Mayor’s Report: Dubois Mayor Twila Blakeman stated “Well, there’s not much to report on other than that we are cleaning up things from 2011 and working on our audit.”

Sheriff’s Office Report: Although Fremont County Sheriff’s Deputy Shane Brazil was unable to attend the meeting, an annual activity report had been submitted identifying $45,797 in fines collected and 461 citations issued in 2011.

Animal Control Report: A report was submitted to mayor and town council.

Airport Report: Airport manager Tim Schell presented an update on the two ongoing Dubois airport improvement projects underway. A fuel tank will be shipped from the manufacturer in Kansas City on January 23rd and is expected to arrive in Dubois on January 25th. Installation, inspection and DEQ approval is estimated take several weeks. The fuel tank was estimated to be functional in mid-February.

A 30% preliminary design for the new Dubois airport configuration has been completed, with approval by FAA, engineers and town officials pending. Schell estimated 2 to 3 additional months to complete the design after approval.

Fire Department Report: An open house for the new Dubois Fire Station is being planned for early spring 2012. A new location for the emergency siren was discussed and will be determined by Dubois Fire Department officials.

Water report: Arvin Miller updated the governing body and audience on water usage.

Waste Water Report: Tim Hayes reported on potential new requirements by the EPA for the waste water treatment system. Depending on the outcome additional training may be required for professional certification.

Planning Commission: Frank Welty read details from the latest planning commission meeting. He was asked by the Mayor to set up a meeting between property owner Scott Christian and WBC regional director Roger Bower regarding a grant to remove the vacant Dubois school building. Welty agreed to set up and include the meeting on the next Planning Commission agenda in February.

Headwater’s Community Arts & Conference Center: Twila Blakeman reported on recent activities scheduled at the facility.

Central Wyoming  College report:  A presentation was given by CWC Vice President of Administration Jay Nielson and Dean of Outreach Lynne McAuliffe on enrollment, student achievements and campus improvements. Nielson began the presentation by announcing a 45 percent increase in enrollment and attributed the success of CWC to the college being both a good value and because of its high quality of education and programming. He listed the women’s rodeo team as being one of the best in the nation, the women’s volleyball team being No. 2 in Region IX, a CWC volleyball player being national player of the week and an All America Junior College performer, and the success of a new debating team as examples of the pairing of excellence in both athletics and academics. CWC currently has the 3rd highest GPA for community colleges nationwide. A new Health & Science building was reported to be opening next year.

McAuliffe spoke about the success of new programming at CWC including Environmental Safety & Health, Facility Maintenance, Rural Justice Training and a new Entrepreneurship Program expected to start in 2012. Scholarships and grants to attend these programs are available and include payment for tuition and course materials. A presentation on Workforce Development and how it could apply to Dubois business and town employees was explained.

When the audience was asked for comments and questions, Councilmember Pete Chimenti asked if a situation that occurred in the recent past had been addressed by college officials. Chimenti recounted a situation involving his son and another Dubois student at CWC whose course credits from CWC would not transfer to UW. McAuliffe and Nielson stated that the situation has been remedied but would investigate further to make sure that the non-transferrable credit issue would not be repeated.

Action items included:

• Approval of annual appointments recommended by Mayor –
Town Attorney: Rick Sollers; Municipal Judge: Robert Denhardt and Town Clerk: Christine Mevissen

• Authorization to approve Payment # 9 for $210 to Stetson Engineering for the Dubois Water Supply Project.

• Authorization to approve Payment # 13 for $3,160.33 to Stetson Engineering for the Dubois Water Supply Project.

• Authorization to approve payment of $38,950 to Con-Ed for Dubois Town Hall Roof Project and designation of substantial completion of the roof installation project.

• Approval of a temporary Catering Permit to Rustic Pine Tavern for the Outfitters Benefit Event to be held January 28, 2012 from 5 to 10 p.m.

• Consideration by Mayor and Town Council to purchase a $100 dog-sled banner for the 2012 Dubois Winterfest. Although the mayor and town council members felt the event was an asset to the town, councilmember Chimenti stated that if the town were to support this event, it would be asked to support additional special events and organizations and could not afford to put itself in that position financially. The request for approval to purchase a banner was denied unanimously.

• Approval of a 2012 holiday schedule for town employees.

Another item on the agenda which was included as an action item but not approved was the review of a new Town Personnel Policy. Comments by town employees present at the meeting were generated including:

• “I think the manual needs to be more positive and welcoming to potential and existing town employees”.

• “Why is there a confidentiality policy included within the employee policy”.

• “It seems from reading this, that if the mayor does not like a town employee on a personal basis- that employee could be out of a job, even though that employee has conducted themselves well on a professional level and met their job requirements”.

• “Job descriptions need to be included, and the job descriptions should also identify benefits and training requirements”.

Mayor and Town Council agreed to revisit the Personnel Policy and vote on its approval
after a work session was completed, most likely at the first town council session in