By Graham Sturgeon, staff writer
The Byron Village Council approved the resignation of their cemetery maintenance employee Matt Misner during their Monday, July 13 meeting and they also heard from several disappointed area residents, who all came to voice their displeasure with Misner’s work.
Misner was hired by the village in 2014 to work with Department of Public Works (DPW) Director Mike Granger and to maintain the cemetery lawn. He had hoped to learn the DPW job from Granger and planned to eventually take over the DPW responsibilities after Granger retired in the future. The relationship between Misner and Granger did not work out, so Misner’s duties were reduced to cemetery lawn maintenance for 2015. Misner continued with his cemetery duties until July of this year, and he turned in his letter of resignation on July 7.
Misner criticized Village President Kit Brunell in his resignation letter for not providing him with a weed whip for four weeks during May and June, and he citied the constant micromanagement by Brunell, Granger and Cemetery Sexton Sharon Granger as a major reason for his resignation.
Misner believes that any complaints that were directed at him during his time as the cemetery maintenance employee came from Sharon or Mike Granger, a point that was partially disproved during Monday’s meeting by the five Byron residents who showed up to voice their concerns with the maintenance of the village’s cemetery. The speakers pointed out that the cemetery was not trimmed for Mother’s Day or the Fourth of July holidays, among other more general complaints.
“The cemetery is in very bad shape,” area resident Robin McNier said during the meeting’s opening public comment section. “It hasn’t been mowed, it hasn’t been trimmed. It really hasn’t been great all summer. I am just here to see what is going to be done about it.”
The public did not have to wait long for an answer to their concerns, as Misner’s resignation letter was discussed and approved during the meeting. Brunell disputed Misner’s claims of micromanagement and explained the timeline associated with the weed whip snafu. Her defense against the micromanaging charge was to list numerous examples of resident complaints that came in about Misner beginning in May of this year, and she defended her decision to wait 12 days to purchase a weed whip for Misner.
“I was informed on June 4th that we would need a new weed whip,” Brunell said. “I chose to wait for the council to approve the purchase at the June 15 meeting before going ahead, but we were not able to establish a quorum that night. I then approved the purchase the next day, on June 16.”
With Misner now out of the picture the council will need to find a replacement, as Mike Granger has temporarily taken on the mowing and trimming duties in the cemetery, a job that will take overtime hours to complete. That job, as well as the village’s vacant treasurer position, will be posted in the newspaper for another week before the council moves on picking replacements. The council will hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 28, to review candidates and potentially fill both positions.