Bloomer Township ZA removed from Planning Commission due to state law

By Jessica Beery • Last Updated 10:15 am on Monday, February 27, 2012

BLOOMER TOWNSHIP — A law that has been buried for decades is shaking up Bloomer Township government, all in efforts to avoid possible conflicts of interest and remain under the law.
During Monday evening’s board meeting, Supervisor Karl Harter informed board members he heard about a rule last October which states that “an employee of the township cannot serve on the planning commission,” according to Michigan Compiled Law (MCL) 125.3815. The only exception to this rule is that one township trustee must serve as a representative of the township council on the planning commission.
The law creates a problem with Zoning Administrator Duane Hagerman, who also is a member of the Planning Commission.
Harter said he contacted Hagerman about the law when he found out about it, but Hagerman has refused to resign from the Planning Commission.
Harter said Hagerman does an outstanding job as zoning administrator, so he recommended Hagerman be removed from the Planning Commission immediately to keep him in that position.
Board members expressed regret that the law had gone unnoticed for so long and hope that Hagerman will continue to serve the community.
“It’s a touchy subject,” said Clerk Don Baese.
“But if the law tells us we have to do it, we have to do it,” said Trustee Dan Ryan.
Harter said no one has complained about Hagerman having a conflict of interest on the Planning Commission, which is part of the reason no one was aware of the law until now.
“But once you know (about the law), you have to obey,” Harter said.
The board voted unanimously voted 5 to 0 to immediately remove Hagerman from the Planning Commission.
Hagerman was not available for comment.
“If he comes back and tells us he would rather be on the Planning Commission than be the zoning administrator, I’ll reappoint him to the Planning Commission,” Harter said. “But he does such an outstanding
job as zoning administrator.”
Planning Commission Chairman Mike Beach said with the removal of Hagerman and three terms ending in March, the Planning Commission might look at reducing to a seven-member board. The township charter states that there can be five, seven or nine members on the commission.
“More may be coming about that later,” Beach said.

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