Arthur Township Voters to Decide Supervisor’s Fate

November 4, 2019

By Pat Maurer

With the exception of the Farwell School’s bond proposal (see related article above), only Arthur Township has anything on the ballot in the county’s General Election Tuesday.

Arthur Township voters will go to the polls to decide on two issues; the recall election for Township Supervisor Lee Schunk (R) who is facing an independent challenger Matthew Bednorek; and a proposal for additional operating millage for the township.

The proposal is asking voters for an increase of 1.5 mills ($1.50 per 1,000 of taxable value) for two years. If approved the additional levy will raise an estimated $38,552 in the first year.

Regarding the two contenders on the recall ballot, Clare County Clerk/Register of Deeds Lori Martin explained that, “In the case of the recall election of Lee Schunk, Arthur Township Supervisor, once the required steps have been met to have a recall election, it is very similar to a regular election.”

She continued, Mr. Schunk belongs to the Republican Party and has chosen to remain on the ballot therefore no other Republican candidate can be placed on the recall ballot.  The Democratic Party was contacted to see if they had anyone they would like to nominate to be on the recall ballot and run against Mr. Schunk.  I did not get a response from the Democratic Party therefore there will not be a Democratic candidate on this recall ballot.  There was one person who chose to run as an “independent candidate”, which is not affiliated with any political party, Mr. Matthew Bednorek.  The recall ballot will have the heading of “Recall Election” and it will simply state that it is for Township Supervisor and have the two candidates names.”

She said if Schunk gets the most votes, the recall will fail and he will remain in office as township supervisor until his term expires on December 31 of 2020. If Bednorek gets the most votes, the recall passes and Schunk is removed from office, Bednorek will fill the office of township supervisor for the remainder of Schunk’s term.

Schunk who has served on the township board as its supervisor for nearly 20 years, said he chose to keep his name on the ballot based on his experience. He said, “I have gained a lot of knowledge over the years.” He said during his tenure on the board, “We built a new hall and rewrote the zoning.” It was a lot of work, he said, “Now we are at 100 percent on zoning and have had no variances.” Schunk was the township assessor for 16 years and before he was supervisor had served on the Zoning Board for four years.

The recall petition was submitted by Peter Sferro, a long-time critic of the township board.

Schunk said he believes the issue is because of the controversy over the township’s fire protection. “We implemented a fire prevention contract (with Harrison Fire Department) without a vote. We have been financing the cost of that fire protection with donations because there isn’t enough money in the General Fund to pay it.”

The annual cost of the contract with the Harrison Fire Department is over $16,000 annually.

“According to our attorney, the state, insurance companies, and bank requirements for mortgages, we have to have fire protection,” Schunk said. “In December we will add an assessment on property in the township for fire protection. “Our critics want fire protection, but they want us to pay for it (fire protection) from the General Fund.”

His challenger for the office, Matthew Bednorek, said in a phone interview Tuesday that he has been a township resident since April of 2014.

“I think I can help make a positive difference in our township by communicating effectively with the township residents, the board and others in the community, for the betterment of our township.”

He continued that hopes to implement that by “working effectively to create an efficient budget and a healthy township.”

“The most important thing,” he said, is for everyone to understand what is going on.”

Bednorek is from Caseville, MI and has a daughter. He has opened a branch office for a financial institution in Gladwin. He works as a Mortgage Loan Originator and said he has worked in financial institutions since 2010, holding several leadership positions.

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