Alan Sorensen Havre Daily News email@example.com
Havre is without a permanent police chief and a city prosecutor following the City Council meeting Monday night at City Hall. Mayor Bob Rice admitted he made a mistake while withdrawing his appointment of former Havre police officer Terry Frandsen. “Sometimes I get overzealous in my appointments,” Rice said. “ I still think he’s one of the finest men I’ve ever met.” Rice withdrew the appointment, he said this morning, because he’d received too much opposition from the community, primarily members of the police department and their families. “(Frandsen) and I talked yesterday and due to some of the negativism we were getting, we agreed and I withdrew his nomination,” Rice said this morning. “He and I, neither one of us, were willing to make this political.” Frandsen, who left Havre for a job with the Kalispell Police Department, is currently an officer in Phoenix. Rice said he has no plans to appoint a new chief of police until acting Police Chief George Tate retires. “He’s already submitted his verbal proposal to me,” Rice said. “ At that point I will move Stan Martin in as chief and we will deal with it accordingly.” Rice said he wouldn’t appoint anyone “until I can find a person I think is capable and it might be Stan.” “It may be he’ll want the job and is capable,” Rice said. “He’s a good man, I know that.” Rice then appointed Martin as acting police chief during the absence of Tate, who is attending a conference in Missoula this week. Rice said we would ask the finance committee to approve appropriate financial compensation for Martin. The city prosecutor’s position fell vacant when Havre lawyer Carl White, who had earlier accepted the position, withdrew late Monday. “Last night at 4:45, I got a fax from him announcing that he was withdrawing his bid,” Rice said this morning. In the fax, White said he had been led to believe that no other attorneys had submitted bids and later found out that longtime prosecutor Tammi Barkus had applied. Barkus’ contract with the city expired June 30. White could not be reached this morning for comment. Rice said the finance committee had accepted White’s bid because it was the lowest of four submitted. He said White’s bid was $36,000, while Barkus’ was $51,600. A bid by Havre lawyer Randy Randolph was $78,000 and a bid by Phillip Defelice, with offices in Malta and Havre, was $100,000. Rice said the finance committee is meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday to discuss the situation. He said he suspected the committee would either open the position up for new bids or appoint someone. Chairman Rick Pierson said the meeting would be held in the back meeting room at City Hall. City Judge Joyce Perszyk told the council during the time allotted for public comment following the meeting that the prosecutor’s position is vital to her court. Perszyk told the Daily News this morning that the balance of the court is based on the accused having a defense attorney and the city having a prosecutor. “You need a prosecutor,” Perszyk said. Perszyk said today would be the first time she has held court since her husband, Joe, died in an ATV accident south of Havre on June 27. “I have all these people coming in and I have no prosecutor,” she said. In other action, the council unanimously approved the renewal of its $40,000 annual contract with Bosch, Kuhr, Dugdale, Martin and Kaze Attorneys for civil legal services. Rice said he knows the firm has represented the city for the six years. He said the city is involved in “four or five lawsuits right now and they’re involved in all of them.” The council also approved a housing program request from a first-time homebuyer. The revolving housing account will provide the buyer with $2,800 to cover the down payment and closing costs and $158 in fees. The repayment is deferred for 30 years, until the house is paid for. The mayor said he would write a letter of thanks to NorthWestern Energy for its grant and assistance in installing solar panels at the city shop on West Second Street and City Hall. The grant also will cover the cost of solar panels at the swimming pool, he said. In her parks and recreation committee report, Pam Hillery said the committee is discussing the possibility of putting a paintball park in the vacant area south of the intersection of 14th Avenue and Eighth Street. She said the committee would meet again at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 6 to further discuss the park. Rice announced that the Washington state family that bought the land previously owned by Quantum V east of Havre has been in contact with him. He said they indicated they plan to develop the area but have no plans for a golf course. He said he will organize a public reception with family members during their planned visit to Havre in November. The mayor also announced Havre Ministerial Association plans to hold a pancake breakfast fundraiser at the Havre Fire Department at 7 a.m. Aug. 18. The association would use the proceeds for its projects in the community.