AD AXE – “Was this misinformation or was this a contradiction?” Lake Township resident Louis J. Colletta asked Huron County commissioners Tuesday, in regard to statements the county’s zoning director made about being paid by a wind developer to give a presentation to the Riga Township Planning Commission Dec. 16, 2010.
In that meeting, Russ Lundberg, who had retired from his position of building and zoning director, said his expenses were being paid by John Deere. Later that month, during a Huron County Board of Commissioners meeting where the board rehired Lundberg to serve as a part-time zoning director, he told commissioners he went on his own time, paid his own way and did it as a favor to Brion Dickens. Dickens serves on the Oliver Township Planning Commission and co-owns Great Lakes Wind, LLC, a community-based wind energy company in Lenawee County.
Last week, Lundberg defended himself against allegations that he is being paid by the wind industry. He said he indirectly gave Huron County commissioners the same answer as he did in Riga, in that he never really got paid to go to the Riga Township meeting, and he did go as a favor to Dickens, whose company owns 50 percent of a project in Lenawee County. The other 50 percent of that project is owned by John Deere.
Upon learning of the statements made in Riga Township, county officials referred the matter to the board’s Personnel Committee for review.
During Tuesday’s meeting of the whole, Colletta asked the board about the Personnel Committee’s progress on its review, and whether any decisions have been made.
“Here’s an obvious video that says he did get paid, but then he … denied any compensation,” Colletta said.
Ron Wruble, who chairs the Huron County Board of Commissioners, said information has been turned over to the Personnel Committee and it still is in the process of reviewing it.
“Everyone will be made aware of it when they get done with their review,” Wruble said.
Commissioner John Nugent, who heads the Personnel Committee, said he doesn’t want to act in haste and/or act before having all the necessary information and conducting a thorough review.
“I’m not going to be pushed into making an irrational or premature decision,” he said. “I don’t want to compound the problem by recommending something that will make things any worse.”