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Board looks to fill vacant trustee seat after election

Marquette Township

Roger Zappa, township attorney, Marquette Township

MARQUETTE — Following the Nov. 3 election, the newly seated Marquette Township Board’s first order of business will be finding a fourth trustee to serve on the board.

The board, consisting of Clerk Randy Ritari, Supervisor Lyn Durant, Treasurer Ernest Johnson and trustees John Markes, Linda Winslow and Dan Everson, will meet at 2 p.m. Monday to devise a course of action to fill the seat. All members, except Winslow, were re-elected to their respective positions during this month’s general election.

The vacancy exists because outgoing trustees Dave Wiegand and Pete LaRue opted not to run for a second term and only three candidates ran for four seats.

Township Attorney Roger Zappa told the board during its regular meeting on Tuesday that it has 45 days to appoint a replacement.

“The statute that governs that indicates that’s 45 days from when a vacancy occurs,” Zappa said. “That might sound like a simple enough question, but there is no case for, and the statute does not specify, does the vacancy occur at noon on Nov. 20 when the term expires for the current board? Or, did that vacancy occur when three people were elected to fill four spots. The conservative conclusion on that is there is no vacancy occurring until Nov. 20. So you have 45 days with Nov. 21 being day one.”

He said if the board does not appoint a replacement within the 45-day time period, the statute requires the intervention of the county clerk, who would notify the chairs of each political party who would select a nominee for a special election.

“That’s not a route you want to go down for a number of reasons,” Zappa said.

The term of any appointee would run until the next general election in November 2021, he said.

He said the board also has the prerogative of determining what means will be provided for potential trustees to apply for the position.

“There is no mandatory posting requirement,” Zappa said. “There is no mandatory requirement that people submit resumes or the board conducts interviews. All of those are options, but that’s a board decision on how they would wish to proceed.”

Ritari said the only requirement for the position is that the person be a qualified elector — or person 18 years old or older who is registered to vote in the township.

The public can participate in the special Zoom teleconference meeting on Monday by visiting https://us02web. zoom.us/j/83232195026 on the web or by calling 1-646-558-8656 and entering meeting ID 832 321 950 26 followed by the # sign.

Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is lbowers@miningjournal.net.

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