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Breezy Point wastewater operator Monnier to retire

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In the wake of the retirement of longtime wastewater operator John Monnier at the end of May, the Breezy Point City Council hired his replacement Monday, May 5.

Bryant Szymanski, a 2006 Pequot Lakes High School graduate, will assume the position at the beginning of June. The personnel committee selected Szymanski after interviewing four candidates April 23, narrowed from a total of 17 applicants.

“We had four good candidates. As we went through the process of elimination following the interviews, it became apparent that Bryant will be a fine addition to our city staff,” said council member Otto Schmid. “We found him to be very articulate both from a verbal standpoint and the written part of the exam of the hiring process.”

Following high school, Szymanski earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in natural resource law enforcement from Central Lakes College. He worked for more than seven years at the Breezy Point Hockey Center as operations manager, where he was charged with maintaining the building and grounds, coordinating all activities and hiring and training all staff members. When the position was eliminated from the 2013 budget, he most recently worked as a sales representative with Viking Coca-Cola Bottling Company.

Szymanski is a volunteer firefighter for the Pequot Lakes Fire Department and a volunteer first responder with the North Crow Wing County First Responders-Zone 3. He said he applied for the position with the city because it fit his skills in maintenance and operations.

“It’s a career opportunity I’ve been waiting for,” Szymanski said. “I know I want to stay in the (Brainerd lakes) area.”

He lives in Breezy Point with his wife, Ashley, and their two daughters, Elsy, 3, and Jozy, 5 months.

Monnier, who has been with the city for nearly 15 years, said he is looking forward to “taking it easy.”

“The boat’s coming out,” he said. “My wife wanted a new camper, so we are going to do a lot of camping.”

Monnier said he decided to retire at the beginning of the summer rather than waiting until September, when his 15th anniversary with the city would have been, to be able to enjoy the beautiful, if fleeting, Minnesota summer. As of right now, he has no plans to work anywhere else, although he said a few of his retired friends warned him he might get bored.

“They said, ‘You’ll love it for two years, and then you’ll want to go back to work,’” he said.

Mayor JoAnn Weaver thanked Monnier for his service to the city.

Public safety

Police Chief Kevin Merschman shared that overall, there were 142 incidents in April as compared to 204 in April 2013. Of these, there were 51 traffic-related offenses compared to 104 last year, two traffic arrests compared to one in 2013, and no thefts, while there were four thefts in 2013. There were also seven medicals, 29 agency assists, six alarms, five animal-related calls, two crashes, zero fires and 40 miscellaneous calls.

In other business, the council:

• Heard from Schmid concerning the mill and overlay of Breezy Point Drive, which he said should be under way by mid-June. The public works department will install French drains in the right-of-way to assist with stormwater drainage. During the construction, which Schmid anticipates will take three to four business days, traffic will be down to one lane.

• Heard from council member Tom Lillehei that the planning commission is considering rewriting the city’s cell tower ordinance, which he said is substantially out-of-date.

• Approved the purchase of a 2015 one-ton plow truck for a total cost of $56,068.61.

• Approved a plat at Breezy Point Resort that will be used to construct a dormitory and laundry facility for seasonal employees. According to a memo from consultant planner Jerry Bohnsack, the planning commission approved a conditional use permit for the facility last fall, and one of the permit conditions was the consolidation of 11 individual properties into one property. This consolidation was necessary, the memo reads, in order to “conform to impervious coverage requirements.” Having determined the consolidated property conforms with the city’s subdivision ordinance, staff submitted the proposed plat to the Crow Wing County Survey Resources & Mapping department and to the county recorder, who recommended the council approve the plat.

• Approved the sale of a 2009 police package Chevrolet Tahoe to the Minnesota Highway Safety Center, where it will be used for training officers.

• Approved the sale of a forfeited 2005 Acura to Pequot Auto Sales for $8,750. The city did not receive any bids on the vehicle, which was forfeited as part of a DWI arrest. The proceeds from the sale will go to the alcohol forfeiture fund.

Chelsey Perkins
Chelsey Perkins grew up in Crosslake and is a graduate of Pequot Lakes High School. She earned her Bachelor's degree in professional journalism from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. Perkins has interned at the Lake Country Echo and the Rochester and Austin Post-Bulletins and also worked for the student-run Minnesota Daily newspaper as a copy editor and columnist during college. She went on to intern at Utne Reader magazine, where she was later hired as the research editor. Before joining the Brainerd Dispatch, Perkins worked as a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal.
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