By Rosemary Horvath
Former Clare County Commissioner Don David of Sheridan Township will reclaim the title when he takes office at his first board meeting in September.
David regained the District 5 commissioner position at a special county board meeting Tuesday called to fill the vacancy left by Rick LaBoda’s resignation.
Commissioners directed a series of questions at David and one other candidate, Ronald Vasich of Hamilton Township. District 5 includes Franklin, Hamilton, Arthur and Sheridan townships.
LaBoda’s resignation also touched off title changes on the board. Commissioner Dale Majewski succeeded LaBoda as board chairman.
Commissioner Jack Kleinhardt succeeded Majewski as vice chair. Both men took their new positions by unanimous vote, according to Majewski.
David serves out LaBoda’s unexpired term ending in four months. Reached at home, David confirmed he is seeking election at the November general election for a two-year term.
He declared himself a write-in candidate at the August primary to garner a spot on the November ballot.
Majewski also confirmed commissioners had chosen Julie Lightfoot of Freeman Township to replace longtime road commission vice-chairman and Hatton Township resident Eddy Garver who resigned unexpectedly in August.
County commissioners had seven candidates applying for the road commission spot.
Majewski said the group was impressed with Lightfoot’s career experience and knowledge of road commission operations.
Lightfoot retired from the Saginaw County Road Commission in 2012 as director of finance and benefits. She was with the road
commission nearly 23 years of which 18 she also served as board secretary.
Lightfoot was sworn into office Tuesday so that she could attend a regular meeting of the road commission Wednesday.
Her term expires November 2016.
Garver’s resignation had to be formally submitted to the County Board of Commissioners authorized by state law to choose a replacement.
Lightfoot and her husband have owned Clare County property for nearly 20 years but only recently moved to Big Norway Lake in the last few years.
Lightfoot said she had tossed around the idea of running for a road commission seat but hadn’t seriously decided to take the plunge until hearing of the vacancy at a Freeman Township meeting.
Both Lightfoot and David received encouragement to apply for the respective positions.
David was a county commissioner six years and served two years as chairman. He and wife Kathleen are active members of The Clare Church of the Nazarene where Don performs maintenance work and Kathleen is facilities coordinator.
David retired following 34 years in law enforcement. They once had a 6-acre strawberry farm that people still ask him about, he said.
Little has changed at the county regarding finances. The county hasn’t generated any new revenue and the only “real revenue is jail revenue,” David said. “We have to watch everything we do.”
LaBoda vacated the position Aug. 31. A decision to resign gave commissioners the opportunity of appointing a replacement and avoid a costly special election, he said.
LaBoda’s name was on the August ballot and will be on the ballot in November due to the untimely circumstances. He learned too late he could not seek reelection to a county position if he intends to collect retirement benefit in September through the Michigan Employees Retirement System as a retired county employee.
A MERS policy passed in 2011 claimed this was a conflict.
LaBoda had retired from district court as a county employee in 2012 and cannot collect a county pension and a county paycheck.
LaBoda must wait two years from the date of collecting retirement before he is eligible to seek election to a county office.