LaBoda quits BOC

August 8, 2014

Rick LaBodaBy Rosemary Horvath

Rick LaBoda’s previous career as Clare-Gladwin district court magistrate and an elected position for nearly two years as District 5 Commissioner collided from a policy of the Michigan Employees Retirement System.

LaBoda learned there is a 2-year lapse from his effective retirement date this September before he can officially become reemployed with the county.

In other words, he can’t run for re-election and has now resigned from office.

He retired from district court in 2012.

A MERS contact was unavailable to explain the policy further.

Elected officials are in the same category as regular county employees.

A Clare County commissioner earns $7300 annually plus per diem for certain additional responsibilities and pays into the retirement system. A board chairman earns $1000 more.

The 99 votes LaBoda received in Tuesday’s primary election for the Democratic nomination is worthless.

And, because of the late timing, his name will appear on the November general election ballot as the Democratic candidate for his district.

County commissioners decided at a special meeting Monday to name a replacement to serve out LaBoda’s term.

Don David who LaBoda defeated in the 2012 election ran a write-in campaign Tuesday and will be the Republican nominee in November. David also served as board chairman.

LaBoda probably could either delay receiving a pension or resign from the  board for which he serves as its chairman.

LaBoda reluctantly chose the latter.

He submitted his resignation letter to the county effective Aug. 31.

“It happened so fast,” after he applied for retirement and learned of the new policy implemented in 2011.

“I had no idea. Even the girls in payroll didn’t know,” LaBoda said Monday.

His immediate resignation preempts calling for a special election to have someone fill out the term. “I didn’t want to stick the townships with a special election,” he said.

This way, the county board can appoint a replacement.

Commissioner Jack Kleinhardt favored appointing a replacement. Commissioners Jim Gelios and Dale Majewski agreed.

The county has begun accepting letters of interest from District 5 residents who are registered voters.

District 5 encompasses all of Franklin, Hamilton and Arthur townships and the northern portion of Sheridan Township.

Deadline is Aug. 22 for resumes or statements of interest to be submitted to the Office of the County Administrator in Harrison.

A special meeting is set for 9 a.m. Sept. 3 for commissioners to interview candidates.

Meanwhile, the board has a special meeting set for Aug. 13 at which time they will hold a public hearing on a proposed budget and take action.

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