Despite an initial reluctance by the White Lake Township Board of Trustees to look to outside candidates to fill former supervisor Mike Kowall’s position, the board accepted 10 applications for the supervisor position from the public before a Friday, Jan. 14 deadline.
This move comes after the board for the second time was unable to decide between Trustees Greg Baroni and Mike Powell as a new supervisor at a special meeting held on Thursday, Jan. 6.
Separate motions to appoint Powell and Baroni to the supervisor position each ended in a 3-3 stalemate two weeks ago. Clerk Terry Lilley and Trustee Carol Burkard continued to support Baroni, while Treasurer Jay Brendel and Trustee Todd Birkle remained supportive of Powell. Baroni and Powell each voted in support of their respective appointments to contribute to the 3-3 votes.
Motions are defeated by tied board votes.
Birkle then moved to have the board accept applications from the public. This motion also failed after prompting a 3-3 deadlock, with Birkle, Powell, and Brendel voting in favor of the measure.
However, board members eventually decided to accept more applications after it became clear at the meeting that they needed to move ahead in some manner. With another motion made to open the position to the public, Lilley joined Powell, Birkle, and Brendel in support of the motion.
All public applications were due to the township by Jan. 14.
Both Baroni and Powell remain interested in the position, along with eight other candidates: William Pierson, David McManamon, Jerry Walker, Matthew Sprader, Anthony Young, David Theisen, Justin Columbus, and Thomas De Santis.
The board plans to hold a special meeting tomorrow, Thursday, Jan. 20 to possibly begin interviewing the candidates.
According to township attorney Greg Need, the township board has 45 days from when the position became vacant (on Dec. 31) to fill the opening through an appointment. If the board is unable to or chooses not to make a decision, it then must notify the state of Michigan and hold a special election for voters to decide who the next supervisor will be.
The cost of a special election is estimated to be around $15,000.
The township supervisor typically serves a four-year term and is paid approximately $75,000 a year. Kowall’s unexpired term runs through November 2012.