ESCANABA, Mich. (WZMQ) – The Delta Conservation District is still awaiting official responses on some important issues the board is dealing with, including a potential “conflict of interest.”
At the board’s regular meeting on Monday, November 13, “Attorney General Assistance” was listed on the agenda. The board decided to reach out to the Attorney General’s office on August 23, requesting legal services for a situation involving 1,400 acres of Cornell Forest property.
According to Board Chair Joe Kaplan in previous interviews with WZMQ 19, District Manager Rory Mattson negotiated a deal on behalf of the county to purchase the land through the Natural Resources Trust Fund. Following that purchase, Mattson purchased property adjacent to it that includes “most of the easement” allowing public access to the county property.
In August, the Delta County Board of Commissioners approved Mattson’s request to modify an easement across his property. The DNR grants manager told a county official the modification “would almost certainly represent a breach of the project agreement.”
At Monday’s meeting, the board did not yet have an update on the Attorney General’s decision.
“We passed a resolution last meeting for that,” Kaplan said. “I’ve reached out to the Attorney General, and we’re waiting for a formal response. There’s some interest there, we just have to wait and see.”
In October, the board voted to seek recovery services for “thousands” of official documents deleted from a district computer. On Monday, the board reviewed its technology report, during which it was noted that the district’s domain provider, GoDaddy Inc., recommended they get a legal subpoena to obtain records of all activity done on district accounts.
No action was taken on the public record destruction, but the board did discuss policies for retaining records and a potential virtual training seminar members could attend on the subject.
“I just would emphasize that we should not be deleting emails,” said Kaplan.
In previous meetings concerning these issues, board members have mentioned their desire for the Delta Conservation District to avoid future problems and to promote transparency. In line with that sentiment, the board unanimously voted to pursue a YouTube Premium subscription to livestream future meetings.