Council fills city positions, declares “Twin Metals Appreciation Days”

by Tom Coombe
Two city positions were filled Tuesday as council members breezed through a packed agenda.
Upon recommendation of the city’s employee relations committee, the council voted unanimously to hire David Huberty for the part-time planning and zoning administrator position, and promoted Troy Oelke to the post of Equipment Operator III.
Both moves came at a council session that lasted less than an hour.
Huberty, whose hire is subject to a background check, was one of two candidates interviewed for the planning and zoning job, last held by Tim Riley.
“It was a competitive process, said council member Heidi Omerza, a member of the employee relations committee. “We’re grateful to have so many interested candidates.”
Oelke was one of four internal candidates to be interviewed for the equipment operator job.
Both the Huberty and Oelke hires were recommended unanimously by the employee relations committee on June 30.
With Oelke’s hire, an Equipment Operator II job has opened and that is being posted internally.
Also Tuesday, the council proclaimed the weekend of July 23-25, which is also Blueberry/Art Festival weekend in Ely, as “Twin Metals Appreciation Days” in town.
The council resolution, approved unanimously, recognizes the company for “providing more than $550,000 in financial support” to a variety of community organizations and events since 2010.
The resolution also recognizes that “Twin Metals Minnesota has already had a significant impact on job creation and economic development in Minnesota.”
On numerous previous occasions, the council has gone on record in support of the proposed Twin Metals Minnesota copper-nickel mining venture south of Ely.
In other business, the council:
• Approved a change order for connector taxiway work at the Ely Airport.
• Passed a resolution endorsing the city’s application for to the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority for nearly $3 million in loan funds for improvements to the drinking water system/municipal wastewater treatment system.
•Authorized the purchase of a tandem axle equipment trailer for $12,559 from Pine River Sales.