Montmorency board addresses issues with secretary position

ATLANTA – The Montmorency County Board of Commissioners voted on two issues involving the board secretary during its Wednesday meeting, one to cancel a contract and one to make a termination.

Last August, the board voted to terminate former secretary Candiss VanOverbeke with a 3-2 vote supported by Commissioners Brock Baggett, Margaret D’Agostino and Stacy Carroll; Bert LaFleche and Daryl Peterson opposed the decision. In November, the former board, with the same vote, approved a three-year employment agreement with secretary Debbie Nagel. However, the issue was not forgotten, with a new board in place LaFleche added canceling the secretary contract during the agenda deletions and additions portion of Wednesday’s meeting.

“The contract is invalid due to the number of years,” Prosecutor Terrie Case, who also is the board’s attorney, said. “That’s the problem, you can enter a one year contract or less. I made a suggestion on how to remedy it, but that’s up to the board.”

LaFleche said the three year contract starting Nov. 14, 2012, should be canceled, effective immediately. However, Carroll asked if the board would null the contract, but keep Nagel at the same rate and pay.

“I read what the attorney wrote and I agree the contract is illegal, but it was agreed by the board and signed by the secretary. I’d like to keep what we’ve got,” Chair Gene Thornton said.

With a 3-2 vote, supported by LaFleche, Peterson and Rick Ferguson- Carroll and Thornton opposed – the secretary contract was void.

“Along with that, this whole mess with the secretary and throwing it at my face … basically, I’d like to see Candiss back here,” Peterson said. “This was done wrong all the way around, maybe we should reverse the situation.”

With the support of LaFleche, Peterson then made the motion to terminate Nagel’s position as board secretary. However, Thornton said the board still has a secretary, but no longer has a contract with her.

“We should stick with what we’ve got. We have enough lawsuits, we don’t need more,” Thornton said. “I don’t agree with what went on in the motion made back originally, the first time when the board eliminated the position and turned around and hired someone else two minutes after, but I don’t want to stir the pot anymore. Let’s stay with what we’ve got.”

Commissioners continued to discuss the previous issue in detail, but under Case’s advisement the board stopped discussing individual employment. The motion to terminate Nagel failed with a 3-2 vote, Commissioners Carroll, Ferguson and Thornton against it.

In other business:

  • approximately $31,000 out of the sheriff millage fund was approved for a new patrol car.
  • the board approved a contract with probate court for legal representation for Montmorency County.
  • Larry Pascador, veterans officer, was approved to purchase a new computer and its necessities at a price not to exceed $700.
  • the board authorized Budget Officer Julie Morton to balance the 2012 budget.
  • Connie Brandt was named the remonumentation grant administer for 2013.
  • Sheriff Don Edwards is authorized to sell a Ford 350 truck. Sealed bids will be accepted and opened during the next board meeting. The highest bid will receive the F-350.
  • the board will contract Weinkauf Plumbing & Heating for plumbing, heating, refrigeration, and furnace maintenance services for 2013.
  • Gene Thornton will attend a MAC seminar on Feb. 11, and Stacy Carroll will attend one day of a MAC conference in March.

Emily Siegmon can be reached via e-mail at or by phone at 358-5687.