MARQUETTE, Mich., (WJMN) – Due to the passing of John ‘Yogi’ Carlson, the former Marquette County Mine inspector of 20 years, a new inspector had to be chosen ahead of the November election to finish his term.
Steven Bertucci, who won the primary election for the position, was sworn in today after an open meeting on the matter. Bertucci says that he appreciates the selection committee’s confidence in him but wishes Yogi was still here.
“He was a friend of mine and I’m going to try to do the job to the best of my ability,” said Bertucci. “It would have been nice if I could have asked him questions but now I’ll be learning on my own.”
Bertucci has worked in underground and surface mines. He also was on the safety committee at the Empire Mine. Bertucci says he hopes to have a good relationship with the union and the companies. Judge Cheryl Hill, the chairperson of the committee, says Michigan Law only requires counties with active mining operations to have the position.
“We have a rich history of mining in this community,” said Hill. “We have to make sure that mining is taking care of and that it is safely practiced and that’s what the mine inspector’s position is for.”
In addition to ensuring safety in active mines, the mine inspector also oversees former areas of mining. Hill says the job is important for the safety of community members.
“There are hundreds of mines in Marquette County, in places, you wouldn’t even expect and if they’re an open hole the mine inspector will make sure that they’re fenced and safe so that you or I don’t fall in them as we’re out in the woods.”
Hill also says the voters spoke loud and clear in the primaries in favor of Bertucci and that his willingness to step up shows that the county is in good hands.
“I think it’s wonderful he’s willing to step up right now and begin his job even before he is elected to the position.”
The current term for the position ends December 31, 2020, when the next four-year term begins. The mine inspector position will still be on the ballot for November’s election when Bertucci will be running to secure a full four-year term.