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Oxford Township trustee candidate profiles



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August 01, 2012 - Editor's Note: There are five candidates running for four trustee seats on the Oxford Township Board. Each carries a four-year term of office. Answers to the profile questions were limited to 25 words each.

Sue Bellairs

Age: 64

Municipality of residence and number of years lived there: Oxford Township – 42 yrs.

Family: Recently lost my husband of 43 years but surrounded by 2 daughters, Pam and Aimee, and son-in-law Eric – all living in Oxford along with my 97 year old mother. 2 grandchildren have already graduated from Oxford schools and the last 3 are currently enrolled there.

Occupation: At this time, I am working as an elected Oxford Township Trustee.

Educational Background: Graduated HS from Our Lady of Mercy Academy in NY; 2 years at DeLima College in Oxford run by the Dominican Sisters; and OCC in Auburn Hills; numerous educational classes on township operations and procedures.

Previous Governmental Experience: Township Trustee for 3 terms whose duties included serving on various councils and committees with some being the Polly Ann Trail Management Council, Cemetery and Professional Services Committees, NOTA, Cable, and ZBA. Current on township practices, issues, and law.

Community Involvement (i.e. charities, service clubs, etc.): Continue to serve on staff and have received the Presidential Volunteer Service Award for my participation in the YOUNG MARINES, the official youth program of the United States Marine Corps League which promotes the mental, moral, and physical development of youth ages 8 to 18 focusing on character building, leadership, and healthy, drug-free lifestyle choices.

1) Why are you running for office? I care what happens in my community. If you do nothing – you get nothing – or worse, you get something you did not want

2) If elected, what do you hope to accomplish? To never forget that the main goal is to make Oxford the best place it can be by remembering all things are important to somebody.

 3) How do you plan to bring your goals to fruition? By researching and understanding every issue presented, and then voting honestly, conservatively, and fairly on them.

 4) What do you view as the most important responsibility of an elected official and why? To make board meeting attendance a priority and know the issues surrounding what you are voting on – before you vote.

 5) In a nutshell, why should people vote for you? Past involvement in township wide issues - including ugly controversial ones - prove I am not afraid to put words and actions behind my convictions.

Melvin (Buck) Cryderman

Age: 69

Municipality of residence and number of years lived there: I've been a resident of Oxford Township for 28 years.

Family: I'm married. We have two married children and three grandchildren.

Occupation: I'm retired from General Motors with 34 years of service

Educational Background: I have an "Associate degree of Applied Science" from Baker College

Previous Governmental Experience: I've served on the Oxford Township Board of trustees since November, 2008

Community involvement: A former "FISH" volunteer. Current "Meals on Wheels" delivery driver. Member of the "North Area Citizens Conference." Member of the "Tea Party." Member of the "Greater Oakland Republican Club"

1) Why are you running for office? The current Board is financially responsible. We've improved our relationship with the village and we've planned well for the future. I would like to continue this work.

2) If elected, what do you hope to accomplish? Township millage requests are put on the ballot every four years to coincide with the presidential election – the election most voters participate in.

3) How do you plan to bring your goals to fruition? I believe all board members know this is the proper thing to do. I will work hard to make this a reality.

4) What do you view as the most important responsibility of an elected official and why? Assuring the public's money is spent wisely. Tax dollars from hard-working citizens should be spent as if it was coming out of our own pockets.

5) In a nutshell, why should people vote for you? I am honest and trustworthy. It is a privilege to work for the people of Oxford. I will always vote with that in mind.

Jack Curtis

Age: 58

Municipality of residence: Oxford. I moved to Oxford from Warren in 1974.

Family: Wife Diana. Son: Major Brent Curtis O.H.S class of 1997 Air Force Academy. Wife Heather and Grandson Jack. Eielson AFB, Fairbanks AK. Son: Brian Curtis O.H.S class of 2000 Kettering University. Daughter: Amanda Grunewald O.H.S class of 2002. Western Michigan University. Son: Bradley Grunewald O.H.S. class of 2006 Michigan State University

Occupation: Retired

Educational Background: Bachelors degree, Oakland University

Previous Government Experience: Oxford Twp. Planning Commission 7 years. Chairman -Economic Development Sub Committee 2 years. Safety Path Committee 7 years. Gravel Inspection Committee 7 years

Community Involvement: Youth sports supporter from coaching to fundraising. Past Director of Church Properties. Past Vice President of Homeowners Association. Student activities including Oxford High Homecoming float building for six years. Advocate of Oxford spending time at surrounding Communities/Municipalities touting the qualities of Oxford. Oxford Township gatekeeper for Automation Alley publication. Township representative to the Oakland County One Stop initiative.

1) Why are you running for office? I want to be part of the approval process. As a member of many committees I witnessed good recommendations get voted down.

2) If elected, what do you hope to accomplish? Continue proper and needed Master Plan growth to help pay for our water bond and provide jobs for our citizens especially the young adults.

3) How do you plan to bring your goals to fruition? Continue to work on streamlining our site plan approval process and Ordinances. Support development according to the Master Plan and community needs.

4) What do you view as the most important responsibility of an elected official and why? Complete accountability of the taxpayer's funds and continue to perform the duties of the office in the best interest of the citizens.

5) In a nutshell, why should people vote for you? I will work towards reduction of the water bond through proper development and continue to shape our Oxford for current and future residences and businesses.

Patti K. Durr

Age: 54

Municipality of residence and number of years lived there: I have been a resident of Oxford Township for approximately 20 years.

Occupation: Currently I am employed as the office manager for the building department in the City of Lapeer.

Educational Background: After graduating Denby High School in Detroit, I've taken various business classes at Oakland University. I have continued to broaden that knowledge with extensive computer classes over the years.

Previous Governmental Experience: I worked 13 years for the building department as the administrative assistant for Oxford Township. I've been currently employed by the City of Lapeer for the past 4 1/2 years.

Community Involvement (i.e. charities, service clubs, etc.): I continue to serve as a poll worker on election day for 17 years. In the past I have worked numerous township spring clean-ups. I also enjoy being a volunteer at the Fisher Theater in downtown Detroit.

1) Why are you running for office? After raising my family and being an established resident in Oxford Township I know it's a good time to share my knowledge and experience.

2) If elected, what do you hope to accomplish? Bringing a new variety of business opportunity to the township, giving our small businesses a chance to survive and grow while keeping the small town atmosphere.

3) How do you plan to bring your goals to fruition? Continue to move forward with the progress of the township board, along with community involvement.

4) What do you view as the most important responsibility of an elected official and why? To work diligently with elected board members to manage the finances of the township and preserve the health, safety and general welfare of the public.

5) In a nutshell, why should people vote for you? I'm very service-oriented and will always act with the best interest of the community in mind.

Charles Kniffen

Municipality of residence and number of years lived there: Oxford Township for 37 years.

Family: My wife, Barbara, and I have five children all graduated from Oxford High School and now blessed us with 13 grandchildren. We spend many hours involved in school events and activities again and the occasional baby-sitting. Love it!

Occupation: Retired

Educational Background: Pershing High School. University of Detroit. Lawerence Technological University. E.E.E Master Electrician License. Private Pilot.

Previous Governmental Experience: I served as trustee for eight years during which time I acted as liaison for the township during the construction of the 2 Fire Stations and the township hall. All came in at budget or below thanks to my construction background. I worked hard to make our community television more professional and meaningful to its viewers. I still act as an appointee to this committee. I also served on the Water and Sewer, Polly Ann Trail, and Professional Services committees. I stayed very busy at it and am proud of my accomplishments.

Community Involvement (i.e. charities, service clubs, etc.): Oxford Area Cable Commission. American Red Cross. Mason

1) Why are you running for office? I enjoy serving my communiity and being able to find solutions to our everyday problems.

2) If elected, what do you hope to accomplish? I would like to see the cable station become even more active in the community and be more vital to our businesses.

3) How do you plan to bring your goals to fruition? By showcasing our community in more activities. Closely working with our schools and our community to get more people involved.

4) What do you view as the most important responsibility of an elected official and why? To be accessible to the public. To listen closely to their problems and try to find answers for them. Remember you work for them!

5) In a nutshell, why should people vote for you? I will be there, working for hard for the people, putting in the time it takes to take care of business, listening and finding solutions.

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.
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