2017-06-08 / Front Page

Meeting minutes reversed

Mistake caught, corrected

An error in original minutes taken at a Northport Village finance committee meeting held May 26 almost had two recommendations affecting the municipal sewer — and the proposals behind them — dead in the water.

The author of those minutes says the errors resulted from confusion during the meeting. Others in the community disagree, suggesting the minutes were written incorrectly to keep the current sewer rate structure in place.

In an email to Village President Phil Mikesell, business owner Will Harper wrote, ‘We can agree to disagree on who remembers what, but I am in no way making an unsubstantiated claim. Let’s not forget that your first version of the minutes was a complete fiction, which you blamed on a ‘senior moment.’ Since then it appears you have miraculously regained your memory. I’m happy to hear it.”

The proposals were first discussed at the Village Council’s regular May meeting, at which it was decided they would be taken up at a finance committee meeting.

The finance committee, which includes Mikesell and trustees Tim Kehl and Mike Stoffel, voted 2-1 to forward the proposals to NLTUA for consideration and to ask for a legal opinion from the village attorney. Mikesell cast the only ‘no’ votes.

Instead, the committee’s minutes originally stated that the proposals failed for lack of support.

Those minutes were taken by Mikesell after administrative coordinator Barb Von Voigtlander left the meeting in anger. Von Voigtlander is also a member of NLTUA.

Clerk Joni Scott, whose job includes taking minutes, also left the meeting early, Mikesell said. That left him to take notes and write up minutes.

Mikesell said the error was not made on purpose.

“I’m an amateur at that and at the end of the meeting I did not have a clear sense of what actually happened,” Mikesell said. “It was not a particularly well-ordered meeting and I was not real clear on the status of things. It was not my finest moment at running a meeting.”

Mikesell said the minutes were corrected after the error was brought to his attention, with the updated version included in an information packet at Thursday’s regular council meeting.

Committee minutes are not specifi- cally approved by the full council. Mikesell said that may need to change in the future.

The first draft of minutes from the Northport Finance Committee meeting were the opposite of what happened:

Original version — “ ... the committee entertained a proposal to recommend to the village council a resolution ‘to consider proposed changes to the REU schedule’ to the NLTUA. The proposal was not supported and the meeting adjourned without further action.”

Corrected version — “A proposal to have the village attorney rule on the powers of the council and the NLTUA with respect to changing REUs was passed. Also, the committee voted to recommend to the full council to forward for consideration the Sinclair proposal to the NLTUA.”

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If Von Voigtlander can't work

If Von Voigtlander can't work with others and storms out of meetings she shouldn't be in politics.