Source: Sherman Publications

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The process of replacing a supervisor

by Gabriel L. Ouzounian

May 25, 2011

Not as the sign reads. Trustee John Steimel has been filling in at meetings for Supervisor Matthew Gibb and will likely continue until a new supervisor is found.
Not as the sign reads. Trustee John Steimel has been filling in at meetings for Supervisor Matthew Gibb and will likely continue until a new supervisor is found.
By Gabriel Ouzounian

Review Staff Writer

Township Supervisor Matthew Gibb has officially designated his resignation date for May 31, and township offices are busy drawing up plans to select a new leader.

On June 2, just two days after Gibb leaves for county offices to take up his new post as Oakland County Deputy Executive of Economic Development, a special meeting has been planned to interview applicants for supervisor position.

"We need someone with leadership qualities, someone who is familiar with the township and the community, and someone who is open minded enough to pursue development for the township," said Clerk Penny Shults. "More than that, we need someone who is balanced, can manage the day to day functions of the township hall, and someone who is going to be able to manage the people and resources the township has to offer.

"We are pretty much bare bones, so the person we choose has to be a very effective manager."

Along with Gibb, Shults and Trustee Neal Porter have been approved to formulate questions that will be asked to the applicants in a forum-style meeting. Each applicant will be given the chance to respond to the questions, which will be asked to different candidates in different order to prevent favoritism. Once the board has heard these responses, a closed session will be held to determine which applicant gets the job, though deliberation aside, the decision will come down to a simple majority vote.

Though Gibb will help write the questions, he will not be allowed to vote.

Because the election of the new supervisor will not be put to a public vote, Trustee John Steimel said he hopes township residents will write in with their question, comments and concerns.

"Because they're not voting, I want to urge people to not be afraid to express their opinions," he said. "It's good for us to hear from them, because only seven people are deciding."

Steimel has been operating as the temporary supervisor in Gibb's absence, not only as a result of his departure but also during sick leave and vacation days. He doe's not hold a pro temper, but instead has been chosen by the board repeatedly to moderate board meetings. He will be moderating the special meeting on June 2 in addition to choosing which questions to ask the candidates.

"I'm looking at a number of things for the new guy, and there are definite things they'll have to do," said Steimel. "But I'm also looking to this person as a full-time manager, to be the township's number one salesman, and to be the face of the township.

"We're also looking for how they mesh with the (board) because bad boards don't do much. No one is going to score on every checkmark, but we will find that someone who has the most qualities."

Finding a replacement quickly is a priority for the board as well. Shults said if someone is not found within 45 days of Gibb's resignation, a special election must be held, which means more money and time without a supervisor. However, due to the large number of applicants, she said the decision may not be easy.

"It's really important to appoint someone in the 45 days after (Gibb's) vacancy," said Shults. "It will be a difficult decision to make, but on the other hand, we're very fortunate as a community to have so many qualified people looking to fill the position."

The final day to apply for the supervisor position was Tuesday at noon. The final list of candidates has not yet been released or finalized.