Disagreements continue between Richland and Logan townships and fire authority
RICHLAND TWP. — Richland Township and Logan Township continue to be in discord over the Richland-Logan Fire Authority, with the supervisors of both townships alleging the other is in the wrong.
According to Richland Township Supervisor Dale Bronson, Logan Township Supervisor and fire authority vice chairperson Dave Munson wrongfully scheduled a joint meeting between Logan Township, Richland Township and the Richland-Logan Fire Authority to be held at the Richland Township Hall Feb. 23. Bronson claimed he did not consent to the meeting.
Ogemaw County Clerk Gary Klacking said while Munson could legally call a special meeting for Logan Township and possibly the fire board based on its bylaws, he lacks the authority to call a special meeting for Richland Township.
According to Munson, the need to hold a special meeting was discussed with Bronson, and Munson alleges Bronson agreed to the meeting, but later backed out.
“We called a special meeting,” Munson said. “We have the Richland Township Supervisor Dale Bronson recorded agreeing to the meeting. We were in the parking lot (at Richland Township) but Dale never showed up to let us in.”
An email discussion between several members of both townships and the fire board members was provided to the Herald. In the emails, the special meeting and proposed meeting dates are discussed. The original request was sent by Munson, who titled himself as acting chair — a fact met with contention by several in the email thread.
“As far as the Richland board is concerned Dave doesn’t have that title,” Richland Township Clerk Dawn Johnson said in the discussion. “Your board removed Keith Ponak as a board member, which removes him as chairman and places Dave in that position, but the fire board has not held a meeting acknowledging those changes.”
Johnson said in the email she didn’t believe Richland Township Board would agree to a special meeting with Munson as chairman.
“I am sorry that the title may not go over very well, but Munson is the acting chairman,” Logan Township Clerk Tonya Schagel responded to Johnson by email. “This special meeting is being held by the fire board authority … We as a group need to look past the titles and concentrate on the important issues of the fire board.”
Tensions have been high between Munson, Bronson and others on the fire authority and had seemingly reached a peak at an authority meeting Nov. 8 when several sources reported fighting between Munson and fire board authority member Jim Redmond. The intense argument turned into expletives being allegedly thrown around by Munson.
Logan Township voted at its regular meeting Jan. 4 to enter a vote of no confidence and at a special meeting Feb. 9 to remove then Logan Township representative and fire authority Chairman Keith Ponak from the board.
According to the fire board authority bylaws, it is unclear if the vice chair automatically assumes the role of chairperson. The bylaws state that the fire authority board shall elect annually its chairperson, vice chairperson and treasurer.
Richland Township sent a letter to the Logan Township board members requesting that Ponak be reinstated to fulfill Logan Township’s obligation to the fire board.
The letter reads that at a special meeting of the Richland Township Board held Feb. 9, it was determined that Logan Township violated the fire board articles of incorporation first by voting to remove Ponak and second by appointing an additional board member to replace him. The letter also read that current Richland-Logan Fire Authority members would defer attendance until the “error” has been rectified, resulting in the lack of a quorum.
According to the incorporation documents, the fire board consists of six members, with each incorporated municipality naming three each — one representing the board of the prospective township and the other two residents of the township. The articles also read that the members shall serve until their successors are named and have consent to serve. A member can only be removed when they have failed to attend more than one-third of the meetings and by the township at the request of the fire authority.
The next regular meeting of the Richland-Logan Fire Authority is scheduled for 1 p.m. March 21 at the Richland-Logan Fire Hall.