October 10, 2012 - Kevin Bushroe is running for a trustee seat on the Independence Township Board, but he may only serve for two years, if elected.
Bushroe, a Democrat nominee for trustee, thinks township elections should be staggered to maintain consistency.
He believes retaining two experienced board members each election cycle is so important, he is willing to be the first trustee to serve only two years, but he won't do it alone. He intends to ask one other candidate to agree to serve only two years.
"The seats would then return to four-year positions with new elections in 2014. This will allow the trustee elections to reset and have two seats up for election every two years," he stated. "It's not adding an election, just adding a name to an election that's already taking place."
To space out the trustee elections in such a way, Michigan State Law would need to be modified, according to Catherine Mullhaupt Director of Member Information Services for the Michigan Townships Association (MTA).
Changing the cycle of elections for trustees would not be a decision a township board could make, so "they would have to work with state legislators," Mullhaupt said.
"I feel this may be a difficult but necessary change to provide better and more consistent leadership," said Bushroe.
From his perspective, the trustees returning have valuable knowledge of issues that have come before the board in the past.
As an example, Bushroe refers to the proposal to revise the burn ordinance, which resulted in two years of subcommittees, public hearings, and readings before it was not adopted.
"If we have a completely new board, outside of the clerk, we lose a lot of that history," he explained.
After the November elections, the township will have a new supervisor and treasurer. Of the seven candidates for trustee on the ballot, Republican David Lohmeier is the only one who has already served a four-year term as trustee.
"A lot of the comments the public have made in the past, are not going to be there," said Bushroe.
While board members hoping to catch up can view recorded meetings, Bushroe feels "watching a video isn't the same as being in the room."
If elected, Bushroe intends to serve his entire term whether he can successfully change the trustee election cycle or not.
"I have no problem with the four-year term," he said.
While volunteering for one of the first two-year terms would cut Bushroe's service short, he said, "I'm confident that if I perform in my first two years, I can continue on, but I think this change is important. I can't ask it of anybody else if I'm not asking it of myself."
Clarkston News reporter