By Erich Doerr
The Clare County Board of Commissioners met on Wednesday in Harrison. During the meeting the board approved four items but voted against one during the following meeting of the Committee of the Whole.
The first two items both involved money with the first a request for $1,600 to apply for a risk avoidance program Rep Grant for the purchase of tasers. The second was a $13,952 transfer from contingency to the medical control budget for services and autopsies. The board approved both of them.
There was no opposing votes to either the taser grant funding or the transfer. Board member Lynn Grim requested and received permission to be excused from the voting on the taser issue because she believed she had a conflict of interest.
The approved items also included two appointments. After previously discussing and approving the appointments in a Committee of the Whole meeting the board officially approved the appointment of Kim Kennicott to the Airport Board and Brian Tomaski to the Department of Public Works. Kennicott is scheduled to serve a two-year term while Tomaski’s term is three years. Like the early earlier items the votes on the appointments were unanimous.
The commissioners meeting ended with unfinished business. The main item discussed then approved was the purchase of state-required upgrade for the Circuit Court for its AS/400 system. The issue had previously been discussed for the 2013 county budget but following an audit that resulted in $12,400 in recovered funds the decision was made to use the money to purchase it now.
Once the Board of Commissioners meeting ended the group switched over to the Committee of the Whole meeting. The committee meeting produced the most heated debate of the day as the members discussed the situation of the administrator and clerk’s offices in regards to payroll and accounts payable. These duties were previously handled by the office of County Administrator Tracy Byard before being transferred to the office of County Clerk Pamela Mayfield. Although her office now handles it Mayfield notes that when issues arise Byard is always informed by someone from the clerk’s office.
“I recognize the need for open communications,” Mayfield said, believing the system is working in its current form.
“I’m saying there is an extra step in there that doesn’t need to be there,” Byard said of her concerns believing a more direct approach by switching it back to the county administrator’s office would be better.
The motion failed by a vote of 5-2 after Commissioner Leonard Strouse requested a roll call vote. Although the motion failed for now it may be back on the agenda for the October 3 committee of the whole meeting.
The issue was originally brought up during the Board of Commissioners meeting, with a motion and second for a vote being granted, before Commissioner Jim Gelios spoke up believing it would be better handled in the Committee of the Whole. When the others agreed the motion and the second were withdrawn and it was pushed back.
The Committee of the Whole amongst other approvals looked at an amendment to the local Off-Road Vehicle ordinance and some possible changes referring to county’s committee on solid wastes. Those issues will be discussed further before a possible final approval at the next Board of Commissioners meeting.
During the meeting Consumers Energy’s public affairs area manager Jeff Mayes spoke to the board about the proposed ’25 x25′ ballot proposal to be voted on in November. If passed the proposal would amend an energy policy into the state’s constitution requiring 25 percent of the state’s energy to come from renewable sources by 2025, an increase from the current 15 percent by 2015 law passed in 2008 after two years of debate. Traditionally the state constitution of Michigan has never been used for setting energy policy and Mayes spoke out against the proposal, including passing out paperwork that described the proposal as ‘reckless’ by cementing a policy in place without debate and that cannot be adjusted. He added the current state of renewable energy combined with this policy would notably increase the cost of power in the state as well.