Clinton Township elected officials couldn’t agree on how best to fill a vacancy on the board, so the decision will be left to voters in November.
After a lengthy discussion, board members were split 3-3 at Monday’s meeting over how to replace trustee Laura Cardamon, who unexpectedly stepped down earlier this month. Three were in favor of letting voters choose while three others wanted the council to make an appointment.
“I’m of the view that we need to let the people who elected Ms. Cardamon in November speak, instead of the six of us trying to decide,” said Robert Cannon, the township supervisor.
Going through a special election, the Macomb County Democratic and Republican parties will nominate candidates to compete against each other. There will be no primary, according to Township Clerk Kim Meltzer.
Township Treasurer Paul Gieleghem was among those who felt the council had a “responsibility” to interview potential candidates and make a nomination. He said elected officials must make a concerted effort to at least try to reach a consensus.
Gieleghem said if left to county parties, chances are a candidate “must have some connection to the party organization”.
“You are failing in your duty as a seven-member council” by not making a nomination, the Democratic treasurer said. “You don’t reach people,” he added.
Cardamone, also a Democrat, surprised his colleagues by announcing his resignation in a letter to the board earlier this month. She moved with her family to another community and is no longer eligible to serve as an administrator.
She was halfway through her four-year term, which would have expired in 2024.
Trustee Jenifer “Joie” West felt a full board was needed to sever potential ties on various issues.
“November is a long way off,” West said. “We have a lot of things to come.”
Cannon, a Republican, noted the pugnacious temper of the current board in recent meetings. He said that by not having a seventh member, it could force directors to find ways to agree in order to advance a vote.
“We’re going to have to learn to work together,” he said.
The Macomb County Clerk’s Office will now be notified to schedule a special election when the Nov. 8 ballot takes place.
Administrators in Michigan’s most populous township earn a salary of $14,125.