Pennington County could soon have a new highway superintendent.
The county Board of Commissioners offered the open position to Joseph Miller on Thursday during its regular meeting in the County Administration Building in Rapid City.
Commissioners approved the motion 3-2 to offer Miller the job following an executive session that they said included phone interviews with the final two candidates. Commissioners Ron Buskerud, Deb Hadcock and Lloyd LaCroix voted in favor of the motion. Commissioners George Ferebee and Mark DiSanto opposed it.
Once the regular meeting resumed, LaCroix asked Ferebee, who attended the meeting via telephone, if he had a comment.
"I've already made my feelings known. I'll be voting no, obviously," he said, apparently referencing conversations had during the executive session.
There was no other public discussion prior to the vote.
If Miller accepts the job offer, he would start Dec. 1 at an annual salary of $79,726. Jon Morrill, the county's human resources director, declined a Journal request for more information on Miller, such as where he is from or where he now works.
Board members held in-person interviews with the candidates on Oct. 31. Those were also done in executive session, which is closed to the public.
Croell hearings postponed
Those interested in attending public hearings about Croell Redi-Mix Inc.'s permit applications will have to wait a little longer.
The county sent out a press release on Wednesday, which commissioners read at Thursday's meeting. It said the hearings planned for Nov. 14 at the Pennington County Planning Commission and Dec. 10-11 have been postponed.
The Planning Commission rescheduled the hearing to its regular meeting at 9 a.m. Nov. 13 in the commission chambers in the County Administration Building. The hearings before the Board of Commission will be rescheduled.
County officials said the hearings had to be postponed due to issues with legal notices not being published properly.
Croell has applied for a construction and mining permit to operate Perli Pit Quarry, 13840 U.S. Highway 16, south of Rapid City near Bear Country USA. Previous attempts to expand the mine have proven controversial, even spawning court battles.
In December, the South Dakota Supreme Court halted the expansion, saying Croell needed a mining permit as well as a construction permit.
District 5 Commissioner Buskerud pushed back against previous comments by Ferebee, who recently called Buskerud a “wise a**,” during a recent Water Development District Board meeting.
"I do not appreciate very much being called nasty names by a commissioner," Buskerud said. "I think it’s inappropriate. I think he violated once again the code of ethics that we have."
Buskerud said he no longer wants to sit next to Ferebee at county meetings and will move his seat to the opposite side of the platform.
"Because I no longer wish to be associated close to or by George," he said. "I don’t even consider him a commissioner any more after the antics he’s pulled in the last month."
Ferebee, who attended the meeting by telephone, declined an immediate response.
"I have no comment at this time, but at a later date I will. Thank you," he said.
Both Buskerud and Ferebee's terms expire Dec. 31. Ferebee was defeated in his bid for re-election to Ron Rossknecht, of Hill City, who won Tuesday's general election to become the next District 1 commissioner. Buskerud chose not to run for re-election. Republican Gary Drewes, of Rapid City, won Tuesday's election to take over the District 5 spot.
Previously in the meeting, commissioners approved a canvass of Tuesday's general election results, making them official. They also approved the following election expenses: $41,327.48 for payroll, $56 for travel and $705 for rent.
In other business, the county:
- Deemed three mobile homes "uncollectible." County Treasurer Janet Sayler said the county issued 714 mobile home distress warrants in January for unpaid property taxes "on building(s) and/or mobile home(s)." Seven warrants were later canceled or recalled. Of the remaining warrants issued, three could not be collected. The Pennington County Sheriff's Office, which serves the warrants, said $174,797.83 was paid in 704 collected warrants, as well as $18,840.21 in fees. The three warrants deemed uncollectible totaled $716.55.
- Approved an authorization for bids for the Pennington County Jail expansion and remodel project, and scheduled a bid opening for 2 p.m. Dec. 11.
- Approved, 3-2, $398,557.26 in vouchers. Buskerud, LaCroix and Hadcock voted to approve the vouchers; Ferebee and DiSanto voted against approval. There was no discussion.