Charlevoix County Building safety board formed

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Benjamin Gohs

News Editor

The potential for security threats at the Charlevoix County Building has prompted creation of the Charlevoix County Safety Committee.
Following a court security assessment performed earlier this year, which detailed numerous ways the Charlevoix County Building could be made safer and more efficient, the Charlevoix County Board of Commissioners unanimously formed the new Committee on Wednesday Sept. 24.
“At the building and grounds committee, I pressed for the larger size,” said outgoing Charlevoix County Commissioner Larry Sullivan (R-District 6). “I’m concerned that there is no one from what I think is one of the most vulnerable portions of the building, which is the building department, register of deeds and treasurer’s office.”
He added, “Anyone can walk along outside the building with a gun and just pop off people by shooting through the windows.”
Sullivan said someone from one of those three offices should be named to the committee if they are so interested in participating on it.
Charlevoix County Commissioner George T. Lasater (R-District 1) said there was a robbery of the treasurer’s office in years past, making Sullivan’s concern a legitimate one.
As designed, the Charlevoix County Safety Committee shall include one member from district court, probate court, circuit court/FOC, sheriff’s office, clerk’s office, maintenance department, the county coordinator, a representative from a non-court-related department, and will not exceed 10 members.
Currently there are eight people slated to sit on the committee: Dean Viles, David Rauch, James Raber, W. Don Schneider, Cheri Browe, Frank Shaler, Kevin Shepard and Brian Kelly.
Charlevoix County Commissioner Ron Reinhardt (R-District 3) said the safety committee will bring recommendations back to the county board for consideration and/or action.
“It’s not something that we’re just going to go out and spend a whole bunch of money on,” Reinhardt said. “It’ll be done in steps and trying to improve.”
He added, “I’ve always said you can’t protect 100 percent (of) everybody in the building. There are some people that would love that but you can’t do it—it’s impossible.”
Outgoing Charlevoix County Commissioner Rich Gillespie (R-District 5) said the board is merely seating the eight people named, and more can be added if they so choose.
Charlevoix County Clerk and Fiscal Officer Cherie Browe said the matter was recently discussed and none of the people from the departments Sullivan mentioned were interested in sitting on the committee.
According to Charlevoix County Board of Commissioners Chairman Joel Evans (R-District 4) the building security committee will meet after the 9 a.m. weekly department head meetings.
Charlevoix County Sheriff W. Don Schneider said the safety committee meetings are not open to the public.
See the full story on the county’s security assessment—FREE OF CHARGE—at