County Commission Makes Important Decisions.


The newly seated county commission held their first meeting on Jan 3. Key items included the following:

Rob Hentschel was elected Chair. The vote was 4-3 with Clous, Hentschel, Jewett, and LaPointe voting in favor.

Prayer at the Commission Meetings: One agenda item was to add an invocation to the beginning of each meeting. Several people rose to speak against this motion. A revised motion was distributed at the meeting. There was a motion to table discussion until the next meeting so everyone had a chance to review the revised document. This motion passed 4-3 with Coffia, Hundley, LaPoint, and Wheelock voting to table the motion until the next meeting.

Commission Meetings moved to 8:00 AM The commission meeting time was changed from 5:30 PM to 8:00 AM for all future meetings. The motion passed 4-3, with Coffia, Hundley, and Wheelock voting against. There was considerable public comment, mostly against this proposal including:

  • This makes it difficult for people who have jobs and enterprises to join and work on the commission. It has an excluding effect on those that can serve.

  • This reduces the ability of working members of the public to attend commission meetings.

Rescind the appointment of Library Board Member Susan Odgers

A motion was made by Ron Clous to rescind the appointment of Susan Odgers to the Traverse Area Library District board. This item was not listed in the agenda in the pre-meeting packet. The argument was that the previous board appointed Ms. Odgers without proper consideration to the geographic distribution of board members as defined in the contract between the city and county. Furthermore, the argument was made that board member Mair voted and he should have recused himself because Ms. Odgers is his wife. Since this item was not in the pre-meeting packet the staff attorney did not have an opportunity to review the legality of this motion. The board passed the motion to take back the appointment of Sue Odgers 4-3. Clous, Hentschel, Jewett, and LaPoint voted in favor. The staff attorney will review the legality of this action.

In the opinion of this author the practice of voting on items that are not in the pre-meeting packet is unfortunate. This makes it difficult for public comment before the meeting, lowers transparency, and makes it difficult for commissioners to properly prepare for the meeting.

Actions you may wish to take:

  1. If you feel strongly about the motion to have an invocation at county commission meetings you should make public comment at the next meeting: 8AM Wednesday Jan 16 Government Center 400 Boardman Ave 2nd Floor Traverse City, Mi

  2. You can see the pre-meeting packets, meeting minutes, etc at http://www.grandtraverse.org/AgendaCenter/Search/?term=&CIDs=2,14,15,16,&startDate=&endDate=&dateRange=&dateSelector=

  3. You can see the calendar of meetings at http://www.grandtraverse.org/1709/Calendar

  4. You can see a video of the meeting at http://www.upnorthmedia.org/watchgovtv.asp?sdbfid=11629

  5. You can make comments to the commissioners at commissioners@grandtraverse.org or you can email your commissioner. Their email addresses and phone numbers can be found here: http://www.grandtraverse.org/Directory.aspx?DID=7

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