No April Retirement for Ishpeming Police Chief

Ishpeming Police Chief Jim Bjorne is away from his job on medical leave.

He feels health issues will prevent him from continuing in the job.

But the City Council votes 3 to 2 tonight to not give him the option of retiring next month.

Before joining the Ishpeming Police, Chief Bjorne worked for the Marquette County Sheriff’s Department for nearly 4 years.

He wanted to have that added to the nearly 21 years he has in Ishpeming.

If he had his county service time and pension payments transferred to the city, he’d meet next month the 25 years of service time needed to retire with a full pension.

But the council voted not to give him the transfer.

City Manager Jered Ottenwess had recommended approval.

The transfer would mean a $25,000 unfunded pension liability for the city, but the city’s finances could handle that.

Bjorne’s departure would mean more problems for an overworked force.

Mayor Pat Scanlon says a detective has been assigned to patrol duty for the time being, and another officer is already out on paid family leave.

Scanlon said his fellow council members can expect to attend a work session sometime next week to address the police chief position.