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Kuschel resigns from city position

The Ride With Us Bus will soon seek applicants to fill two positions following the resignation of Valarie Kuschel and the retirement of bus driver Curt Peterson.

Kuschel submitted her resignation at the May 14 Pine River City Council meeting. She has accepted a Cass County position and her resignation is effective May 31.

The council approved Kuschel’s resignation and thanked her for her service. Council member Patty Melby said she appreciated Kuschel’s work with the city, and City Clerk Wanda Mongan said Kuschel has brought the city bus a long way.

At the same time, Peterson, a driver with the bus for 14 years, is soon retiring, and when he leaves he takes with him all that experience. Because Peterson knows all the different routes through town and uses that knowledge to improve travel time, training in a replacement will take some time.

In her monthly report, Kuschel said the Ride With Us Bus had 560 riders in April and is holding strong at 43 riders a day. Kuschel asked for permission to advertise to fill Peterson’s position, saying Peterson has a knack for customer service, volunteers many hours to the city and keeps a regular maintenance schedule for the bus. Kuschel said it will be difficult to replace him. She suggested it could take three weeks to train a replacement, so it might be wise to advertise soon.

Mongan said the city could save money if it advertised the open driver position with the open assistant clerk position. Mayor Jim Sabas said that hiring would need to be done with the future of the bus service in mind.

The council also discussed advertisement for Kuschel’s position. The pay amount was of particular interest to some members.

“I think it should go back to before her probationary pay, because she earned that extra income and I think the person coming in should,” council member Tamara Hansen said.

The proposed advertisement offers 40 hours a week at the same wages Kuschel earns now, which was being considered as a way for the city to catch up on wage levels. No decision was made on this subject.