Commissioner Scott Ala released this statement regarding the August meeting of the Houghton County Board of Commissioners.
“I’ve received many phone calls and texts why I left the Commissioners meeting right after the mers vote. Was I that mad and it’s unprofessional, “Ala said. “I left because I had another engagement to attend and there was nothing earth shattering left on the agenda.”
Ala continued, “As the longest standing board member, you don’t get mad, just disappointed in what you perceive as bad judgement. Controler Forsberg stated the debt reduction that we are in with MERS is working and the debt is going down, then why the additional million? The (Daily Mining) Gazette did a week long article on the failing jail. People have bad working conditions, smells like urine, we’re going to get sued, ect., ect. We’re putting in a new kitchen but not fixing the jail. Why not? Get air handling and fix toilets and maybe change the 20 year old menu. A million will go a long way if you want to keep your jail going. I haven’t spoken to anyone who doesn’t think putting a new roof on the Houghton County Arena is a bad idea so why not pay cash?”
“So to end, again,” Ala said, “I didn’t leave the County board meeting because I was mad just had another place to be. But I was disappointed.”
Here is the original story from August 10, edited to include Ala’s statement that he had another meeting to attend.
Houghton County will make an additional $1 million payment into the Municipal Employees’ Retirement System.
That decision to put the extra funds toward the unfunded liability did not come without disagreement, however.
At their regular meeting Tuesday, Commissioner Scott Ala proposed the county should withhold the payment for the time being, and instead attempt to reopen negotiations with local unions and ask for a greater contribution from employees benefiting from the program.
With the total unfunded liability at around $11 million, Ala was unable to sway the board from making the additional payment.
Ala argued that the money could be used to benefit more of the county if invested into the Houghton County Arena, which is faced with a $500,000 roof project.
The 4-1 vote in favor of supporting the additional MERS payment, with Commissioner Ala opposing it.
Indicating he had another meeting to attend, Ala then excused himself and left.