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School board, village council lack November candidates

July 23, 2014 - Voters in the Brandon School District will see only two names on the November ballot for school board candidates, even though three 4-year terms are available. Likewise, only two candidates are vying for one of three 4-year trustee seats on the Village of Ortonville Council.

Newcomer Robert Eisiminger and current School Board Vice-President Diane Salter were the only school board candidates to file by the July 22 deadline. Current Village Council Trustees Liz Waters and Coleen Skornicka are running again, but Tom Peters is not, and no one else filed, leaving one 4-year term open. Wayne Wills will run again for village council president, a 2-year term, facing no competition.

"We'll miss Tom, he's done a great job and we wish him luck," said Village Manager John Lyons. "Someone could go in as a write-in. We'd like to see a person active in the community run. I am surprised no one stepped in, because Tom has been telling people he isn't going to run."

This is not the first time local municipalities have come up short on candidates.

Karen McArthur, Brandon Township elections coordinator, said it is very common with the library board, and also happens on occasion with both the village council and school board. She speculates that perhaps with the village council, people don't recognize it as a major governmental unit.

"Maybe they don't think they're as important, but the village does a lot of stuff that is very important," McArthur said. "And the school board, I think people don't want to deal with how major the stuff is. It's a lot of work to be on that school board. The district is the area's biggest employer."

McArthur notes that being a public official is not everyone's area of thinking and people have their own commitments, but she is disappointed with the lack of candidates.

"People have died for our right to vote, so we should not give up the right to elections," she said.

There is still an opportunity for residents of the school district to run for the school board seat, however, and for residents of the village to run for the council trustee seat. Potential candidates can file to be a write-in on the ballot. To be a write-in candidate, a declaration of intent must be filed by Oct. 24 at the Oakland County Clerk's Office, 1200 N. Telegraph Road, Pontiac.

It is free to file a declaration of intent and no petition signatures are required. The candidate's name will not appear on the ballot, so voters must write the name in properly, McArthur said, as well as fill in the oval next to the written name, or it will not count.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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