March 07, 2012 - The Village of Leonard is looking for some civic-minded people to step up and apply for a vacant seat on the town's council.
"It's an important job and I think it's far more important than most people really realize," said village President Mike McDonald. "It really is being the voice of the people at this level of government."
Candidates for the vacant trustee seat must be at least 18 years old, a Leonard Village resident and qualified to vote.
The seat was vacated last month by Jerry Birr, who resigned because he's moving out of the village. Since then, the village has sought candidates, but come up short.
"I haven't heard (of) or talked to anybody that's interested in filling the vacancy at this point," McDonald said.
Leonard's trustees are paid $30 for each regular or special council meeting they attend. Regular meetings are held on the second Monday of each month.
A trustee is basically responsible for attending meetings, overseeing and approving the village's budget and expenditures, and representing citizens' interests on various issues.
When asked how much time a trustee can expect to devote to the position, McDonald replied, "It really is up to the official."
"It can vary depending on what happens to be going on in the community at the time," he explained.
McDonald noted he knows trustees who choose to serve on other boards such as the North Oakland Transportation Authority, Polly Ann Trail Management Council and Oxford Area Cable Communications Commission.
"They do that voluntarily," he said. "They don't receive pay for that."
A trustee's term in normally four years, however, whoever's selected to fill Birr's seat would only do so until the general election in November, unless he or she chooses to run for the position and wins.
McDonald believes it's important for people to serve on local boards.
"I think it just goes with what America has always been about," he said. "We've always wanted a representative government.
"At this level, this is grassroots government at its best. We interact directly with the people we serve. We're not away in Washington D.C. or Lansing getting a lot of input second or third-hand."
Those interested in applying for the vacant seat are asked to submit a letter of interest and/or resume to the Leonard Village office, which is located at Rowland Hall, 23 E. Elmwood St., Leonard, MI 48367.
Letters/resumes can also be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to (248) 628-8673.
McDonald hopes to have a decent-sized pool of applicants to choose from just in case another council seat opens up in the future.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.