Jim McGee was elected unanimously to lead the newly seated Burns Harbor Town
Council for 2012.
Until April, that is.
Council members reorganized Wednesday with Greg Miller’s motion to select
McGee as president “for the first quarter” of 2012. When councilman Mike
Perrine asked why, Jeff Freeze said that will give himself, Miller and Gene
Weibl as the new members time to get their feet wet and go from there.
Perrine and McGee each have served on the council for multiple terms, McGee
often serving as president as he did in 2011. Freeze unanimously was elected
vice-president for three months.
McGee announced liaison assignments: himself to the Police Department;
Perrine to the Street and Fire Departments; Weibl to the Building
Department; Miller to the Park Department; and Freeze to planning and
Freeze later was named as Burns Harbor’s representative on the Northwestern
Indiana Regional Planning Commission and the Duneland Economic Development
Freeze, McGee and Weibl were named as municipal appointments to the Advisory
Plan Commission. Marcus Rogala was chosen to replace Freeze as a citizen
member of the commission, and Rogala also was named to the town Park Board
after the council unanimously waived the requirement for affiliation by
political parties for that board.
Park Board member Clark Hamilton said Rogala, a Democrat, was the only
person to apply for what formerly had been Ron Day’s Republican seat, and
the Park Board supports Rogala’s appointment to assure a quorum is available
Named to the town Board of Zoning Appeals by McGee was Tracy Freeze
replacing Weibl on the BZA; also appointed there was Timothy Minier
replacing Gordon McCormick.
McGee named Jeff Freeze to the town’s Economic Development Commission, and
the council tapped Miller also for the EDC. The council recommended resident
Brad Enslen to the Porter County Council as the third EDC member. Jan. 5 the
County Council named former Burns Harbor Town Council member Bob Poparad as
its choice for the town EDC.
After the meeting associate town attorney Charles Parkinson said state law
enables the County Council to “nominate” a town EDC member but not to
The five Burns Harbor Town Council members serve as the town Redevelopment
Commission with no citizen members although a Duneland School Board member
has a non-voting seat. Freeze, Weibl, Miller and resident Jim Constantine
were named to the Sanitation Board. Perrine, McGee and Weibl comprise the
Stormwater Management Board.
In other business, the council asked town attorneys to research whether the
town can make adjustments to its Cumulative Captial Development Fund. Freeze
and Miller said in new-member orientation meetings they attended through the
Indiana Assoc. of Cities and Towns they learned Burns Harbor’s CCDF is very
underfunded compared to area communities.
Officials declared potential or possibly perceived conflicts of interest for
Clerk-treasurer Jane Jordan said her husband sometimes performs paid IT work
for the town; Perrine’s wife is on the Park Board; Freeze’s wife is on the
BZA and he is a board member of The Village subdivision POA; and Weibl is
employed by ArcelorMittal.
When Perrine said he sometimes peforms free HVAC repairs for the town hall,
Parkinson said the donation should be documented in writing.
The Town Council adopted a Park Department salary ordinance for 2012 under
suspension of the rules. Weibl asked Hamilton that the Park Board provide
the council with a copy of the hours park director Kim Burton spends at the
park; Hamilton said she puts in countless unpaid hours. Burton will receive
$14,162 this year as director plus a $60 per-month phone allowance.
Neither the previous nor current council has yet adopted a 2012 salary
ordinance for remaining town employees. Members indicated a workshop may be
needed. Resident Gayle Van Loon asked if the council will return to meeting
twice a month instead of once, the policy since 2002; the council was
Miller said he’ll look into the lack of an email contact system for town
officials and report back.