“My feeling is we need to take care of the officers’ union contract first,” Mayor Rob Hammond, Jr., said at last Monday’s regular meeting.
City Councilman John Huisman agreed with the mayor, saying they need to settle with the union first, before making any decision on taking any other direction.
City Administrator Kathy Bailey told the council that a meeting with the police union is set for later in July.
“Even if we come to an agreement at that meeting, it will take time to ratify a settlement,” Bailey says. “The absolute earliest it would be done is mid-August.”
Bailey also says it will take at least two months to hire a new police chief if the council decides to keep its own police force in place.
She says she has reviewed the applicants and ranked them according to the information on their paper applications.
“The next step is to narrow the list using a special written test,” Bailey says. “After that I will assemble a peer panel of other law enforcement persons to actually conduct the interviews.”
She also says she has been working on the possible contract with Winnebago to provide police service in Blue Earth.
“We have come up with some changes in the language presented by Winnebago,” Bailey says. “We had the League of Minnesota Cities review the proposed contract, as did (city attorney) David Frundt, and we have some changes dealing with insurance and liability.”
The city administrator adds that it could be October before the Winnebago option could be implemented.
As far as having the county sheriff take over the department, Bailey says the negotiations with the sheriff’s office have dropped off.
“The sheriff says he wants a decision from the council before he spends more time working on a specific contract,” she remarked.
To see more of this article, see this week's Register.