By Anna McNeill
The first order of business at the January meeting of the Clare County Board of Commissioners was to elect the new Chairman and Vice Chairman.
Commissioner Karen Lipovsky made a motion to vote by a raise of hands and was seconded.
Lipovsky then voted to elect Commissioner Jack Kleinhardt as the new Chair and was seconded by Commissioner Jim Gelios.
County Clerk Pam Mayfield then put it to the vote and all hands were raised, no opposition.
Next up was the election of the Vice Chair.
Commissioner Leonard Strouse took no time nominating Commissioner Dale Majewski into the Vice Chair position. He was seconded by Lipovsky and through the vote, no one opposed.
They were voted into a one year term.
New to the board were Commissioner’s Donald David who will cover District 5 and Samantha Pitchford who will cover District 2.
Later in the meeting the commissioners made it to Finance and Administration Committee where they had to approve the Commissioner Meeting Dates.
The original motion was to approve the pre‑set 2015 Board of Commissioners meeting dates which was for meetings once a month.
Commissioner David voiced his opinion and said that he thinks that going to two meetings per month would be a better idea than just once a month. Having the meetings twice per month would give the Commissioners more time to learn about issues, think them over and come back in two weeks to make a decision instead of having to wait another month.
Commissioners Lipovsky and Majewski both countered David’s argument, saying that they believed that having the meetings once a month was working.
Majewski argued that the commissioner’s job is to come into a meeting with the facts and info of the issues they are deciding on beforehand.
Commissioner Gelios, agreeing with David, said that this very meeting was an example of how two meetings per month would be helpful. A presentation about the building updates and court house security was brought up to the commissioners and they needed time to discuss, absorb and decide. Gelios agreed that if they had two meetings per month that this could have been presented at the first meeting, the commissioners would have two weeks to mull it over, then a valid decision could be made at the second meeting. This would make it so that the commissioners no longer needed to make decisions “on the fly,” and the department heads wouldn’t have to wait an entire month to move forward with plans, repairs or addressing other issues.
Lori Ware asked to chime in and said that as a department head, that she has concerns with the meetings being only once per month.
“We do business at the speed of business,” Ware said.
Meaning that with the meetings only once per month, if she needs something approved over $3,000 she has to wait for at least a month for the commissioners to approve it and that sets her and her offices back.
Kleinhardt asked for the Sheriff and Undersheriff to give their stance on the issue.
Sheriff John Wilson said that a meeting once per month slows the department way down.
“Honestly,” Wilson said, “it does hinder us.”
Undersheriff Dwayne Meidzianowski agreed with the Sheriff and said that sometimes the things they need board approval from are timely. He suggested that if the board not approve to go to two meetings per month that they up the amount that the Administrator can approve from $3,000 to $6,000.
Finally, after much discussion, David made the motion to go to two meetings per month, the first and third Wednesday of each month, which was seconded by Gelios. A role call was taken and there were none apposed and the motion passed.
The next Board of Commissioners meeting will be February 4 at 9 a.m.