Complaints filed on Montcalm County commissioner who’s on Duck Lake board

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 12:42 pm on Tuesday, November 19, 2013

CRYSTAL TOWNSHIP — Two former members of the Duck Lake Improvement Board recently wrote letters to the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners complaining about one of the commissioners.

Marv Sandborn of Crystal was appointed to the Duck Lake Improvement Board in 1999. He has served as chairman of the board since he was appointed.

However, Sandborn recently resigned from the board. He also wrote an Oct. 2 letter to the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners complaining about Commissioner Ron Braman of Vestaburg.

Montcalm County Commissioner Ron Braman

Commissioner Betty Kellenberger of Carson City previously served as the county’s representative on the Duck Lake board, but she was replaced by Braman due to the county’s redistricting of townships.

“I think you should be aware that Mr. Braman has acted in a non-professional and hostile manner, not only toward me, but other board members and lake residents attending the meetings,” Sandborn’s letter stated. “I know of no reason for Mr. Braman to treat any of us with disrespect.

“I have worked hard since my appointment to the board to improve the quality of life at Duck Lake and have always made decisions based on the best interest of the lake. Because of all the animosity among board members and discourteous behavior toward lake residents, I have recently submitted my resignation from the lake improvement board.

“I would like to request that the Board of Commissioners consider removing Mr. Braman from the lake improvement board and reappointing Betty Kellenberger. Even though I will no longer be a member of the lake board, as a concerned resident I will continue to support the board and encourage them to make decisions that are in the best interest of the lake,” Sandborn’s letter concluded.

Former Duck Lake Improvement Board member Robert “Bob” Gagne of Stanton also wrote an Oct. 16 letter to the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners complaining about Braman’s “unprofessional conduct.”

“He treats members of the board with disrespect, is rude and at times is downright nasty to those who do not see his way of thinking,” Gagne’s lengthy letter stated.

“Mr. Braman at times seemed like he was the chair and several times complained to the chair about points of order which were moot, in my opinion. He drafted a set of bylaws and asked if they should be read out loud and before the board had any discussion he just started reading, and he is the one who is constantly worrying about points of order.\

“He has formed a coalition with a couple of other board members and the other two members seem to be well-versed in the content of the bylaws. After the meeting, several members of the public who attended the meeting had a discussion outside and the question was brought up if they were drafted by all three.

“One thing during the meeting Mr. Braman made clear was he drafted these by himself, but with the knowledge the other two had of the contents, many of us feel they were drafted by the group in violation of the Open Meetings Act.”

Gagne concluded his letter by asking that the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners replace Braman on the Duck Lake Improvement Board.

“Mr. Braman, along with his arrogance, lacks credibility,” Gagne’s letter stated. “I would hope that his actions are not representative of the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners as a whole.”

The Montcalm County Board of Commissioners didn’t take action on either letter.

Braman declined to comment.

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