By Tim Douglass

Glenwood City Commissioners accepted retirement notices from three key city employees at Wednesday’s regular meeting.

It was a three-member commission Wednesday with two members absent, but the commission unanimously (3-0) and “reluctantly” accepted the resignations of Public Works Director Dave Perryman, the city’s Finance Director Brenda Sargent, and Leslie Randal, the city’s library director. Along with the motion to accept those resignations, the city directed city staff to begin work to replace the long-time city employees.

The three have a combined nearly 89 years of service to the city.  In letters to the city commission, all three cited “retirement” as the reason for their resignations.

Perryman has worked for the city for 36 years and will be retiring on October 28 of this year.  Sargent, who has worked for the city for 25 hears, will retire on Dec. 30 of this year, and Randall, who has worked at the city’s library for 27 years, will retire on January 20, 2023.

“I have genuinely enjoyed my employment on the city crew and then as operator in water and wastewater and finally as Public Works Director,” Perryman said in his resignation letter.  He said he has enjoyed his 36 years with the city and will mis co-workers and crew,” the letter stated.

Sargent also thanked City Administrator Dave Iverson and said she enjoyed and appreciated her 26 years as a city employee. 

“I have genuinely enjoyed my employment and will miss (Iverson) my co-workers and the city commission,” Sargent said in her resignation letter.  “I am so proud of all the city of Glenwood employees; they never hesitate to go the extra mile.  I am very fortunate to have been able to call them co-workers and friends,” the letter stated.

Randall thanked city commissioners for “everything you have done on behalf of the Glenwood Library.  She said the job has allowed her to make many friends and she treasured each challenge and accomplishment.  

All three signaled that they would help with the transition once new employees are hired.

In other business, the commission:

•Heard a report from /Rick Schara of West Central Initiative. West Central Initiative WCI) is an economic development authority serving a nine-county area that includes Pope County.  It has been making an impact in the area since 1986.  In Pope County, WCI has provided 173 grants totaling $1.4 million; and 77 loans totaling $2.5 million.

Besides helping small business, WCI has also helped with grants for number of local organizations, including Pope County Historical Society Endowment Fund, Glenwood Development Community Fund, Glacial Hills Elementary School Fund, Glacial Lakes Environmental Trust, Local Food is Essential, Starbuck Community Fund and United Way of Douglas & Pope Counties Endowment Fund.  It has also assisted in projects like Early Childhood Initiative, Safe Routes to School, COVID-19 Resiliency Fund grants and distribution of small business relief grants.  Schara said that John Dahlseng has served on the WCI board representing Pope County since 2017.  City commissioners thanked Schara for the work done by WCI and said childcare, workforce issues and housing remained top issues in the city, as they are in much of the area served by WCI.  

•Approved a motion that stated a nuisance property report on a local resident had been resolved.  Before the motion, the commission heard a complaint on that issue from Theresa Tibbetts stating that she believed the city would be better off if the commission changed the tone of the letters the city sends out about nuisance property issues.  Tibbetts had received a letter about grass and/or weeds not being mowed at her residence at 316 2nd Ave.  She was told that the letter “was simply a form letter.”  

Tibbetts said he felt she had to express her opinion about the tone of the letter and said she had resolved the issue at her home even before she received the letter.  She said she believed the letter could have a more sensitive tone.  “Be Minnesota nice and be kind,” she said. “You hear “be kind” lot these days, but there’s not any of it in this letter,” she said.  

She suggested a tone that could be used, stating the city’s letter to property owners could start by saying “we’ve noticed you have been having difficulty maintaining your property, is there a problem and is there something the city could do to help the situation…”   She pointed out that she is now the total caretaker for her husband who has dementia and that until recently he handled all the outside work.  Now, she said she was providing full-time care for him, running two businesses and trying to do all the inside and outside housework.  

The city did acknowledge that the tone of the letters sent may be stern and appreciated her situation and thanked her for coming to the meeting.  The property nuisance letters, however, are directed by city statute and must legally contain language that enforces and carries out the city’s ordinances, according to Iverson.  

 •Approved a list of Election Judges for the 2022 Primary Election to be held on Tuesday, Aug. 9.  Those judges are: Betty Barsness, Heidi Winter, Nikki LaSota, Brenda Sargent, Sharon Wencel, Barb Schutt, Gloria Danter, Kim Kremin, Ann Grandy, Gail Warfield, Connie Hausmann and Deb Moorer.  

•Approved a temporary beer license for the American Legion Post 187 to conduct an annual beer garden during the 2022 Waterama festivities.  

•Heard from Iverson that the city commission would probably be seeing a revamped proposed ordinance on ATV and golf cart use within the city sometime in July.