By Beth Bily
Essar’s Assistant General Council and Director of Government and Public Relations Mitch Brunfelt addressed the Nashwauk City Council last week and said despite negative attention, several positive developments have occurred since the company’s July bankruptcy filing.
Among those developments is the hire of a new CEO, Matt Stock, who Brunfelt described as an “industry veteran.” Essar also has hired a chief restructuring officer.
There are three independent board members who are overseeing activities of Essar’s management team, Brunfelt reported. The company also has a new financial sponsor, SPL Advisors. Bridge financing, which will allow the company to continue to operate while in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, is in place.
“In terms of the people who work here locally, I think people are really reinvigorated,” Brunfelt told the council. “We’re strongly committed to the restructuring process. I think we’ve made some real positive steps.”
In other business, the council:
• Discussed trail access that has been cut off to local residents due to their location on mining company lands. Brunfelt said Essar would continue to work with the community on this issue.
• Approved the layoff of summer casual laborers, effective Aug. 31.
• Tabled a decision on a donation of for veteran’s memorial plaque in Togo to the next meeting.
• Approved a business agreement with Fairview Range.
• Approved application for three credit cards for ambulance service personnel.
• Added a property on Second Street to the list of blighted buildings in need of inspection.
• Discussed the training wage for the ambulance service, which is lower than the same wage for firefighters. The council will revisit the issue once a formal proposal is submitted by the ambulance service.