Source: Sherman Publications

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Who’s next?
What happens when the township loses its supervisor

by Gabriel L. Ouzounian

May 04, 2011

Matthew Gibb was recently hired at county offices. Photo by Gabriel Ouzounian
Matthew Gibb is leaving Orion Township to take his talents to Oakland County offices, and his departure will soon leave a gap in the local government.

Township Clerk Penny Shults said the board has a challenge ahead of them.

"We will officially have a letter of resignation eventually from Gibb," said Shults. "We will begin looking for someone to fill the roll that Gibb leaves behind, and it's going to be hard to figure out who should be in that roll."

As part of Monday's meeting, the board decided to have a series of meetings to determine who will be replacing Gibb, an option made available because Gibb is more than halfway through his term as supervisor.

"We've decided to hold two special meetings. One, on May 4, is when we'll resolve policies on the Orion Center, the Wildwood Amphitheater and other projects started by Gibb as well as start to decide on the process for replacing him," said Shults. "There will also be follow up meeting on May 19 to complete this process.

"The appointment of a new supervisor at this point will be made by a simple majority vote of the board."

The Orion Township Board of Trustees has 45 days from Gibb's official resignation date to determine a replacement or the county clerk will declare a special election must be held. Boardmembers Mark Crane and JoAnn VanTassal have expressed interest in applying for the job, in addition to Chris Barnett - an Orion Township Planning Commissioner.

Barnett believes he can bring the same passion to the job that Gibb did.

"I've been in the private sector for 15 years with a lot of experience in business management, but what I loved about Gibb's leadership is that he's moved us forward exponentially in such a short amount of time," said Barnett. "I want to keep his pro-business and pro-economic development plans going forward, as well as his open door.

"I'm fortunate to serve this community and I would not think I have all the answers, so I would love to get the community involved."

Barnett is not the only township employee praising Gibb's performance as township supervisor. Allen Feys, Operations Director for Orion Township, believes Gibb will continue to implement progressive ideas, albeit now for the county.

"He's moving on to a higher service, those of us still here have an agenda to peruse, and we will be here to do just that," said Feys. "Gibb has established a profile of leadership in the township, he has set lofty goals and aggressive agendas, and the individual that picks up the reins will hopefully have the vision, intellect and passion for the job that Gibb did.

"These will not be easy shoes to fill."

Gibb also felt emotionally about his departure, mostly due to the sudden nature of the offer. However, he said he will not be leaving right away because of recent issues that have come to his attention.

"Because of the amount of interest and gamesmanship that has arisen out of who will replace me, and the importance of the work we're still doing, I decided not to offer my resignation (Monday)," said Gibb. I don't want my resignation and who's going to fill in for me to interfere with what we're currently doing, but I will say it's likely I will have a written statement by the end of the week."

Gibb entered office in November of 2009, with a scheduled term end date of November 2012. He is scheduled to become a Deputy County Executive on June 1.