April 25, 2012 - Mike Spisz is ready to take the big leap from 300 Dunlap Rd. in Oxford Township to 1200 N. Telegraph Rd. in Pontiac.
Spisz (click for larger version)
All he has to do is win a couple elections this year.
The 41-year-old township trustee filed his paperwork to run as a Republican for the District 3 seat on the Oakland County Board of Commissioners.
"The timing feels correct," said Spisz, noting he'd considered running back in 2010, but decided against it.
"There were more things I was looking to accomplish on the township board. Now, I have two more years under my belt and I think (county commissioner is) a better fit for me at this point. I think I can help out not only Oxford Township, but all the other communities that are in the new District 3."
Oxford Township and Village used to be part of District 1, however, the county Board of Commissioners redrew all the district boundary lines, so now Oxford is part of District 3 along with Brandon, Addison and Oakland townships and the villages of Leonard and Ortonville.
Incumbent Commissioner Beth Nuccio (R-Brandon Township) decided not to seek reelection this year. A call was placed to Nuccio to ask her why, but she did not return it by press time.
County commissioners serve two-year terms and are paid slightly more than $30,000 annually.
Elected in 2008, Spisz believes his experiences and accomplishments while serving on the township board make him a solid candidate for the county position.
"Look at my track record – I brought a lot to the township board," he said. "I brought some changes. I brought some good ideas."
Spisz was part of the effort to change the township's health care coverage to a less expensive plan, a move that ultimately saved the municipality more than $100,000 annually.
He led the charge to require township employees to pay part of their health insurance premiums. They went from contributing zero to 5 percent.
The trustee was also quite proud that he helped negotiate the first-ever union contract with the firefighters and worked to secure the necessary grant funding to finally make the W. Drahner Rd. safety path a reality.
Spisz was a "driving force" behind the creation of the township's Economic Development Subcommittee (EDSC).
The EDSC is a three-member body, which is tasked with promoting Oxford, looking for new ways to boost the local economy and implementing changes to make the township more competitive and viable when it comes to attracting new businesses.
"Everyone else around us is changing, so we need to continue to change with the times," he said.
"But you've got to be careful," Spisz warned. "You don't want to go too far to one side and attract too much development. Part of our goal is to maintain that small town feel."
If elected as county commissioner, Spisz wishes to continue helping Oxford and other municipalities become more efficient and prosperous. He wants to examine "what else can be done at the county level to help all the municipalities reduce their costs."
"Can we have more collaboration between communities? Can we push that more? Can I bring some fresh ideas?"
Spisz would like to look into if anything can be done to reduce or halt the annual cost increases experienced by municipalities, like Oxford and Addison townships, that contract with the Oakland County Sheriff's Department for police and/or dispatch services.
"I know they've done a great job with this at the county level, but is there anything else we can do?" he said. "I'd like to dig into that a little bit more."
Although Spisz hasn't yet held any type of formal kickoff event for his campaign, he's already received support from a multitude of well-known public officials.
So far, the pro-Spisz camp includes state Rep. Brad Jacobsen (R-Oxford), County Commissioners Beth Nuccio and Mike Gingell, Oxford Township Supervisor Bill Dunn, Oxford Township Treasurer Joe Ferrari, Oxford Township Clerk Curtis Wright, Addison Township Supervisor Bruce Pearson, Oxford Village Councilman Tony Albensi, Oakland County Undersheriff Mike McCabe and Oakland County Deputy Executive Matt Gibb.
"I expect to get some more (endorsements) as I go on," Spisz noted.
When asked why he originally decided to seek public office four years ago, Spisz replied, "I have always been interested in politics."
However, simply observing the process as an outsider didn't satisfy his natural need to gather and analyze all the information.
"You don't get to truly understand what's happening by just going to meetings," Spisz explained. "You don't get all the information. You don't get all the correspondence. You're not on the inside . . . The only way to truly understand what's going on is to actually get involved, so I decided to run."
When he's not helping to govern the township, Spisz works as a director of engineering for Takata in Auburn Hills. He's been with the global automotive supplier for eight years.
He enjoys spending time with his family, which includes Michelle, his wife of 12 years, and two daughters – Madison, 10, and Mya, 7.
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.