Tuesday the Big Lake Spud Fest Committee turned down an offer from The Friendly Buffalo’s Rick Schroeder to join the board, citing Spud Fest by-laws. “I have gifts for everybody,” said Chair Charlean Albright, handing out copies of the Spud Fest bylaws to all the committee members. The Spud Fest committee said they held elections in October and would not be willing to put any new members on the board until October of this year. “We would like them to volunteer on a committee for one year first so we can get them trained in,” said Treasurer Patti Borchert. However, numerous board members have served in the recent past without the one year volunteers requirement, including chiropractors Chris Slice and Nick Dubbelde, New Day Methodist Pastor Jim Beard and Tiffany Lewandowski of the Monticello Times, who was recruited by former Spud Fest Chair Geoff Randall at Tootsie’s Tavern. “We are putting the past behind us and we are following our own rules from now on,” said Albright. Big Lake Mayor Raeanne Danielowski commented that the board could vote to change their bylaws to allow Schroeder a role on the committee. The committee insisted he could attend the meetings and volunteer on a sub-committee but that he could not have voting role this year. “Since the board has three vacancies, they could act on their bylaws at any time,” said Big Lake Lion Eugene Earney. “I don’t get a good feeling about this. It appears they don’t want anybody to break into that circle. They want help but not to actually run one of the projects.” The Lions may opt to take on the pancake breakfast but they are reluctant to hand over cash at this time, Earney said. “We have some other big projects coming up,” he said “Scholarships for one. And in April we are going to work with the fire department on a smelt fry.” Schroeder said he was not opposed to volunteering for a year. “I think they are doing the right thing,” he said. “It sounds like they have a lot of good ideas. I think it’s going to be good. I just hope they can be open to help, not think someone else is trying to take over. They do need some accountability.” “I thought the meeting went well,” Danielowski said. “They are making progress. They have pulled a lot of information together they should have at their fingertips, including a guide, which should be helpful to future committee members. “I have good feelings they are making progress and their bylaws are a good structure. However they can be a hindrance to more help,” said Danielowski, who plans to attend more meetings and work to help the committee make this year’s celebration a success. The Spud Fest Committee asked the commuity for help at a special meeting three weeks ago, saying they did not have start-up funds for this year’s Spud Fest even after a banner year last year. They would like the community to commit volunteers and funding to get the celebration off the ground. The committee now estimates they need $27,000 to get the ball rolling.