Due to the recent death of Waterford Township Clerk Betty Fortino, the Waterford Board of Trustees has voted unanimously to support the appointment of Deputy Clerk Kari Vlaeminck, Fortino’s protege, to fill the clerk position.
“It’s an honor I was appointed,” she said. “I’m excited and want to serve the residents well.”
Vlaeminck will step in to complete Fortino’s un-expired four-year term effective immediately. The term expires in November 2012. She will have to file candidate paperwork by next May to seek election to the clerk position during in the Nov. 8. 2012 general election if she hopes to continue in the clerk position.
“I intend to run fair and honest elections and make sure every vote counts, just like when Betty was here,” Vlaeminck said.
Fortino died on June 18. By charter, the township board had 45 days to appoint a clerk to finish out Fortino’s term. Vlaeminck’s tenure with the township made her an attractive candidate.
“Kari has been running the office since last fall when Betty was diagnosed (with cancer), and ran the 2010 election. So she knows the mandates required by law and is the legitimate person fill those shoes,” said Supervisor Carl Solden.
Vlaeminck came on board with the township in May 1999. She started out as a clerk/typist and moved up to accounts payable under the direction of Fortino.
She was appointed deputy clerk in April 2010, after Fortino lauded her as “very competent” and “accustomed to working with township personnel and residents.”
Fortino’s 25 years of service with the township is a hard act to follow, but Vlaeminck said she is up for the challenge.
“I have big shoes to fill, but I’ve been here 12-plus years and already took the state’s accreditation class,” she said. “The community is giving me incredible support, and the staff is amazing — we work as a team.”
Vlaeminck will earn $81,963 per year as the township clerk. She opted to waive the $5,100 car allowance.
“I didn’t accept the car allowance because I feel it’s a good way to save money and that could be cut,” she said.
Vlaeminck has since promoted Kathleen Dunham, a former clerk/typist in the clerk’s office for 16 years, to the position of deputy clerk on a part-time basis.
“Kathleen is retiring, but will work part-time and that will in turn save the office money,” Vlaeminck said.