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Hunter resigns from Gladstone City Commission

GLADSTONE — The city of Gladstone is looking for a new commissioner following the resignation of Commissioner Darin Hunter.

“I leave my post early due to a new position I have accepted that will ultimately establish a conflict of interest allowing me to serve. I hope the best for the Commission, Staff, and Citizens of Gladstone with the various projects that have been completed and ones yet to come,” wrote Hunter in his letter of resignation approved during the commission’s regular meeting Monday.

Hunter — who has served in various capacities with the city including on the parks and recreation board, the board of review, the downtown development authority and as the city’s mayor — will be taking a position later this year with the Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority. Since the MMRMA is the city’s insurance provider, the position could create a conflict of interest.

“I congratulate Commissioner Hunter on his new career that he’s moving into and which causes us to have to leave us, and I do have to say I regretfully accept his letter of resignation,” said Commissioner Brad Mantela.

Mayor Joe Thompson also expressed his regret at losing Hunter on the commission.

“Thanks for stepping up and volunteering to be on the commission, and I’ve really enjoyed having you here. You bring a good point of view and good discussion,” Thompson told Hunter Monday.

While Hunter will no longer be able to serve on boards or committees in the city, that doesn’t mean he’s resigned himself to silence on issues important to Gladstone.

“You probably haven’t heard the last of me, especially if there’s a certain citizen that wants to keep bellowing the falsehoods that are out there because I will probably be the loudest and most vocal partner in your corner as much as I can be with my new position — and making sure that people know the real story, behind some of those falsities that are being thrown out,” said Hunter, referencing former commissioner and frequent litigator against the city Mike O’Connor.

Hunter, who did not serve on the commission with O’Connor, said Monday he had never sat on a bad commission. He also noted the work of the city staff and City Manager Eric Buckman and thanked his fellow commissioners for “putting up with” him over the years.

“There’s been some ups and downs. The city itself from when I was the mayor to now has evolved immensely. I’ve seen a lot of positive direction, a lot of good personnel. I think it’s put the city in the right direction. I think there’s a lot of good that the city still has to come,” he said.

Hunter’s term was set to expire in November. His replacement, which will be appointed by the commission, will serve until that expiration but has the option to file to appear on the November ballot to potentially continue serving in the seat.

Anyone interested in filing the seat is asked to fill out an application and submit a letter of interest. The applications and letters will be accepted until 4 p.m. May 4 at city hall. The decision of which applicant will fill the vacancy will be made at the regular commission meeting at 6 p.m. May 10

Applicants who are interested in serving on the board following the November election are required to file to appear on the ballot by 4 p.m July 20.

In addition to Hunter’s seat, the seats held by Thompson and Commissioner Greg Styczynski will be on the ballot in November.

Ilsa Minor can be reached at iminor@dailypress.net.

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