County commissioner Lori Lalouette, who customarily would be appointed commission chairman for the third year of her term, was passed over at Monday’s meeting in favor of Randy Dallke continuing as chair and newly elected commissioner Dianne Novak as vice-chair.
After a swearing-in ceremony in the courtroom for all newly elected and re-elected county officials, 12 onlookers crowded into the commission chamber to see what happened.
“I do have one concern due to the acts of Dec. 30,” Dallke said, referring to Lalouette abruptly leaving a previous commission meeting. “I move that I continue as chair.”
Novak seconded. The vote was 2-1, with Lalouette voting against.
Dallke showed Lalouette and Novak a letter written by Hillsboro residents James Hefley, Kevin Suderman, and Galen Penner, notifying county clerk Tina Spencer of their intention to seek a recall election to remove Lalouette from office “due to failure to perform the duties prescribed by law.”
Hefley spoke to Lalouette.
“Lori, I was saddened to hear in the paper that you have been having health issues,” Hefley said.
Hefley said voters in District 1 had lost confidence in Lalouette and asked that she resign to save the committee the effort of circulating a petition and the county the cost of an election.
“For the good of your personal health I would ask that you resign from your position, for your own personal health and for the health of the county,” Hefley said.
Lalouette responded, “I’m not in a position to make any decisions today. Part of what was in the paper was inaccurate.”
She offered to meet with Hefley at a later date.
Hefley said he had tried to leave messages for her, but her inbox was full.
Lalouette said after the meeting that she was considering her options, including the option of resigning, but would consult family and friends before making a decision.
The meeting continued with routine issues.
Road and bridge superintendent Jesse Hamm updated commissioners on road and bridge projects and plans to control dust on 290th Rd. east of Lincolnville, where a quarry is being opened.
The commission approved renewal of property and liability insurance through EMC Insurance at $190,023 per year.
Planning and zoning director Emma Tajchman updated commissioners on the county’s efforts to get a conditional use permit for the former Straub property, which the county intends to use for a shop and office space.