Gregory Schreurs fields questions during his interview Tuesday evening as Gillette resident Kristi Brown looks on.
The Gillette City Council appointed Gregory Schreurs to fill the vacant Ward 1 seat at a special meeting Tuesday night.
The seat has been vacant since Shawn Neary resigned in early August to accept a position with the Montana State University-Billings men’s basketball program. Neary was men’s basketball head coach at Gillette College, but lost the job when the Northeast Wyoming Community College District unexpectedly cut all athletic programs except rodeo at schools in their district in June.
The Council interviewed six applicants Tuesday night, Darrel deJong, Elizabeth Jones, William Little III, Dale Sander, Alissa Shannon and Schreurs, each for about 20 minutes. After the interviews were complete, the council went into executive session for about 50 minutes, citing personnel issues as the reason for the closed-door session.
When they emerged from the session, Councilman Carsrud made a motion to appoint Mr. Schreurs to the seat. Councilman Brown seconded the motion, and the five sitting councilmen unanimously voted to okay the appointment.
Schreurs has been a Gillette resident a little over 22 years. He’s a retired Major with the U.S. Air Force and was a managing partner with K2 Technologies, where he was a senior network engineer until retiring in 2016. He is a pilot and serves as president of the Campbell County Airport Board. He serves as finance director and operations director of Wyoming Civil Air Patrol and is on the Legacy Advisory Board.
Schreurs told the Gillette City Councilmembers in his interview that he’d like to see a focus on city infrastructure, particularly the availability of fiberoptic internet service, which he believes is of paramount importance in economic diversification and attracting new businesses to Gillette. He also supports the formation of an independent district for Gillette College, which lost all athletic programs except rodeo after the Northeast Wyoming Community College District made cuts to programs in June.
While the vote for Schreurs was unanimous, the night was not without controversy. The move to executive session by the council was met with questions from some citizens in attendance. Gillette resident Ben Decker stood when the executive session was announced and said, “Are you serious? Right now?”
Kristi Brown, another resident in attendance, said after the meeting that her issue was not with the candidate who was chosen, but the way in which the selection was handled behind closed doors.
“With Laura’s (Councilwoman Laura Chapman) appointment we were told we were not allowed in those meetings,” Brown said. “This time we were told we could go watch, and I was excited to see and hear the process. We got to see nothing.”
Brown has been among a group of citizens protesting at every city council meeting since Councilman Shay Lundvall was pressured to resign in June over posts he’d “liked” on Facebook. The group has called for more transparency from a council Brown believes has turned a deaf ear to residents.
Brown was adamant that she personally supports Mr. Schreurs and believes that they selected a good candidate. Her problem, she said, is not with the candidate but with the process.
Gillette City Attorney Anthony Reyes is out of the office until Monday, and a request for comment about procedural issues was not immediately returned.