Longtime Pierson Township treasurer resigns

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 8:44 am on Friday, December 30, 2011

Scott Vukin

PIERSON TOWNSHIP — The longtime Pierson Township treasurer is stepping down so his wife can move up.
Scott Vukin is resigning to avoid a conflict of interest after his wife, Montcalm County Deputy Treasurer JoAnne Vukin, was appointed county treasurer.
JoAnne will be sworn in on Jan. 3. She succeeds Marcia Sawdy, who is retiring as county treasurer on Dec. 31.
“I will assist the township board in any way I can to ensure a smooth transition and maintain continuity of tax collection and dispersement,” said Scott Vukin.
Scott became treasurer during a tumultuous time in Pierson Township’s history.
In September 1989, voters recalled Clerk Dixie Fifield, Treasurer Carol Nagy and Trustee Kathleen Gould over controversy about a proposed township fire department. Scott was elected treasurer in a special election in November 1989.
Voters recalled Supervisor Vera Paulsen about a month later in January 1990.
When Scott came on board, the township was involved in legal issues revolving around a local landfill and dump. Scott said litigation over 12 years cost the township almost $500,000.
“Since we have been freed of that distraction, the township and the various boards have managed to set monies aside that we believe will allow us to build a township hall addition that will not require any outside funding,” Scott said. “This has been a dream of mine and longtime Trustee Bill Bryant. The township plans on breaking ground in the spring.”
When Scott took office, the township had about 1,700 parcels. Today, the township has about 2,500 parcels.
Scott recalled how all township officers previously operated out of their homes with the exception of very limited office hours. Scott prepared taxes for mailing, filed receipts and processed township fund records out of his home, where he and JoAnne raised their seven children.
A computer program became available in the mid-1990s, but the township board wouldn’t authorize the purchase of a computer. Scott put the program on his personal computer at home.
He worked that way for five years until board members finally decided to move into the computer age and installed computers in the township hall.
Scott also served eight years on the township Planning Commission. He retired from Murray Lumber in Grant in 2006 after almost 27 years of employment.
“My greatest enjoyment in this position was meeting and establishing relationships with township residents over the years,” Scott said. “It has been very interesting to see the progression of people and their families through the time I’ve been in office. There were people I’ve come to appreciate very much who have either moved on or passed on. In some cases it’s like losing a good friend and generally the only time we’d talk would be at tax time.”
He also enjoyed helping people straighten out problems with taxes and township government.
Pierson Township Supervisor Brian Longcore said didn’t always see eye-to-eye when he first met Scott, but they have become good friends over the years.
“He’s one of the best treasurers that the township has had,” Longcore said. “I hate to see him go. I hope somehow or other we can keep him around. He would be a great addition to any committee that we have.”
Scott and his wife of almost 36 years have seven children and two grandchildren. The Vukins raised golden retrievers and golden doodles for almost 20 years until deciding to stop in November.
Now that Scott is fully retired, he plans on more involvement with people and activities at Northland Church of Christ in Grant, where he attends and teaches Bible class to fourth- through sixth-graders. He also looks forward to doing more woodworking and baking in the wood-fire brick oven the Vukins built in their backyard.
“Sixteen loaves of bread at a time and pizza in 3 to 4 minutes,” Scott said with a smile.
As for his wife’s thoughts on his retirement?
“I have begun my ‘honey-do’ list,” JoAnne joked.

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