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Council looks to fill Benner's seat, elects Albensi president



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January 30, 2013 - The Oxford Village Council is looking to appoint someone to the late Tom Benner's seat, but first it needs some applicants to choose from.

By charter, council has 30 days to fill the seat, which was vacated when Benner passed away Jan. 15. Benner had served on council since 2005 and as village president since 2011.

"We have an empty seat here," said Councilman Dave Bailey. "I suppose someday somebody's going to be able to fill this seat. But I don't know who and I don't know when. Until that time, I'll continue to grieve Ė and probably after that time."

In order to be eligible to serve on council, the village charter states applicants must be a village resident for at least six months, at least 21 years of age and a registered voter.

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Applicants also cannot be "in default to the village," meaning they can't owe the municipality for delinquent property taxes or unpaid water/sewer/garbage bills.

Those interested in applying are asked to please file an application. Applications can be obtained and submitted at the village office (22 W. Burdick St.).

For more information, contact village Clerk Susan Nassar at (248) 628-2543 or via e-mail at clerk@villageofoxford.org.

Applicants will be interviewed by council, which will decide who to appoint.

Whoever is appointed will serve out the remainder of Benner's term.

Originally, that would have been until September of this year.

But Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill that eliminated the village's September odd-year elections.

As a result, four of the five council seats that would have been up for election this year had their terms automatically extended until the November 2014 general election.

Benner's was one of those seats. The other three positions are currently occupied by Elgin Nichols, Maureen Helmuth and Bailey.

In other news, council elected Tony Albensi to the village presidency in a 4-0 vote.

"I want to thank council for their confidence in me," he said. "I appreciate it. Those are big shoes to fill . . . but I will try to serve to the best of my ability."

Referring to those "big shoes," Albensi called Benner "an asset to this community."

"There's no doubt about that," he said. "He was loved by everyone in this community that I knew (of) and by me, personally. I'll continue to pray for his family. He will be sorely missed."

Because council elections will now be held in November of even-years, Albensi's term has also been extended. It was originally set to expire in September 2015, but now it will run to November 2016.

Council elected Bailey to serve as president pro-tem.

Basically, the job entails taking over the president's duties, such as running council meetings, whenever he is unable to perform them.

Bailey reluctantly accepted the position.

"I hope that I will not need to serve," he said. "I have learned through my decades of life that while I have many spiritual gifts, being president of an organization is not one of them."

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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