“I’m leaning toward David Jacobsen myself, only because I know he’s middle of the road — he’s not either way — and all of the other candidates are either a definite ‘for’ or definite ‘against,’” Hyde said. “Either way in regards to what? Cousineau asked. “Either for wind or anti-wind,” she answered, referring to the Commission’s efforts to amend the township’s wind energy ordinance. “I didn’t know we were considering people based off of wind,” Cousineau said. “We’re not supposed to pick a Planning Commission member based off of just (one issue).” “Nope, but that’s who I picked,” Crowley responded.
GREENVILLE – A vacancy on the Montcalm Township Planning Commission has been filled, but not without objection from one board trustee and several members of the public.
The Montcalm Township Board voted 4-1, with Trustee Brian Cousineau opposed, during Wednesday’s to appoint township resident David Jacobsen to the Planning Commission, following a recommendation from Supervisor Doug Crowley.
Crowley initially presented the board with five individuals who had submitted letters of interest to fill the vacancy created following the resignation of Erin Nerychel on Feb. 24.
According to Crowley, he received letters of interest from five township residents – Richelle Lentz, Richard Palmer, Cynthia Ellis, Patrick Waszkiewicz and Jacobsen.
Prior to Crowley announcing his recommendation, members of the board provided some comments that led to additional discussion about the candidates.
Treasurer Rose Hyde said she did not think Waszkiewicz’s letter of interest indicated he would be a good candidate, with Crowley agreeing, adding that the letter “didn’t make any sense.”
Cousineau asked if the board would consider whittling the field of candidates from five to three due to two of the letters (from Waszkiewicz and Jacobsen) being submitted after the deadline of Feb. 23.
While Waszkiewicz had already been eliminated during discussion as a candidate, Crowley said, in his mind, Jacobsen was still in consideration despite having not submitted his letter of interest via email until March 2.
According to Crowley, Jacobsen called him on Feb. 23, indicating his desire to be considered as a candidate.
“David Jacobsen was good because he called me, though his email came in late,” he said. “Quite honestly, I set that date because I was scheduled for and had surgery a week ago Monday. I think they (candidates) are all valid, except for one (Waszkiewicz).”
Crowley then announced that he was recommending Jacobsen.
“He’s been on our Board of Review, years ago,” Crowley said. “He’s got an open mind. His mind is not made up. So that’s my recommendation.”
When pressed by a member of the audience to provide additional details about Jacobsen, Crowley said he lives on Turk Lake, has worked in tool and die, retail, production shops and for an excavating company.
“His whole family is from here, too, going way back,” he added.
“I’m leaning toward David Jacobsen myself, only because I know he’s middle of the road – he’s not either way – and all of the other candidates are either a definite ‘for’ or definite ‘against,’” Hyde said.
“Either way in regards to what? Cousineau asked.
“Either for wind or anti-wind,” she answered, referring to the Commission’s efforts to amend the township’s wind energy ordinance.
“I didn’t know we were considering people based off of wind,” Cousineau said. “We’re not supposed to pick a Planning Commission member based off of just (one issue).”
“Nope, but that’s who I picked,” Crowley responded.
“He has an open mind, is what I’m saying,” Hyde added.
Following discussion, Trustee Ed Hansen motioned to appoint Jacobsen, supported by Hyde, which resulted in the 4-1 vote.
Cousineau said he could not vote in favor of a candidate who did not submit their letter of interest before the deadline.
“He was late in applying, he shouldn’t be considered,” he said.
During public comment, Lentz, a candidate herself for the vacant Planning Commission seat, shared her thoughts.
“I recognize that you are not trying to rock the boat from a perspective of pro-wind, anti-wind, but I believe at least three of those candidates (Lentz, Palmer and Ellis) were incredibly qualified to be on the Planning Commission for the duration of Erin’s term,” she said. “That position isn’t just for wind. Mr. Palmer, currently retired, I think has been an attorney for this township for quite some time and could have probably lent some very good insight on (legal issues) without us having to spend township money.
“Ms. Ellis, although pro-wind, may not agree with me, but she has given her stance multiple times about her background and she is also very qualified,” she continued. “And I have spent 20 years in IT working on projects and issues and I currently manage a $70 million budget.”
Lentz believes the board failed to pick the “most qualified person for the job.”
“The Planning Commission, if you have been to those meetings, unfortunately when (Planning Chairman) Dick (Karnatz) has to recuse himself, they are not very well run, if we are honest with each other … It’s difficult to sit through those meetings,” she said. “I think you had an opportunity today to correct some of that and you didn’t do that.”
Lentz recommended the board consider expanding the Commission to seven members “to help alleviate issues” she believes they are having.
Hyde asked Lentz why she doesn’t believe Jacobsen is qualified.
“Somebody asked what he did and you said he was qualified because he sat on a different board for a number of years,” Lentz answered. “You didn’t give us any additional qualifications. If he’s more qualified then that, let’s hear it. Or if he’s here, if he would like to speak for himself, I think it would be beneficial for the community to hear that.”
While Jacobsen raised his hand to indicate he was in the audience, he did not speak during public comment.
The board also voted unanimously to hire a recording secretary for the Planning Commission, a role that was previously held by Nerychel.
“They would have no vote, nothing … They literally will just take notes and write the minutes,” The new employee would not be a voting member of the board and would not contribute during meetings other than to record the minutes.
“I think it might be a helpful thing,” Cousineau said. “It allows that person (former secretary) on the (Commission) to concentrate on the issues, to take notes and not worry about getting anything on the record. That’s a difficult task, I would think.”
[rest of article available at source]
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