Montcalm County BOC switches to night meetings for more attendance


By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 3:09 pm on Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Patrick Q. Carr of Lakeview, at right, was unanimously re-elected chairman of the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners by his colleagues during Tuesday morning’s organizational meeting. Also pictured is Montcalm County Controller-Administrator Robert Clingenpeel, at left. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

STANTON — If your New Year’s resolutions included attending more Montcalm County Board of Commissioner meetings — but you work a day job — you’re in luck.

Commissioners voted 8-1 during Tuesday’s annual organizational meeting to start meeting at 6 p.m. each month for full board meetings, instead of the usual 1:30 p.m. meeting time. All full board meetings take place the fourth Monday of each month, with the exception of December, which will take place the third Monday due to Christmas.

Commissioner committee meetings will continue to meet on second Mondays in the morning. All meetings take place on the third floor of the Montcalm County Administrative Building (old courthouse) in Stanton.

Patrick Q. Carr of Lakeview, seated, visits with Commissioner Ron Retzloff of Crystal, Robert Clingenpeel and Commissioner John Johansen of Montcalm Township after Tuesday morning’s organizational meeting. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Commissioner Ron Baker of Howard City cast the lone opposing vote against changing the meeting time from afternoon to evening.

“I think half and half would make more sense,” he said. “I would support 1:30 half the time and 6 half the time. That might confuse some people, but maybe we could alternate on odd and even months. I would like to see some meetings available during the day so people who work here or people who want to visit … we’ve been down this road before and we had fewer people at night than we did during the day.”

“We had no people at night,” agreed Commissioner Patrick Q. Carr of Lakeview.

“I think we’re going to confuse so many people by saying it’s this time this month and another time another month,” observed Commissioner Ron Retzloff of Crystal. “We should do all one time or the other.”

The motion to move full board meetings from 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. was approved 8-1.

“I really appreciate the time change,” said Commissioner Betty Kellenberger of Carson City. “I think as a public body we need to meet so people can come, which is really difficult when we meet at 1:30. I do think it’s a good move.”

Commissioner Betty Kellenberger of Carson City, seated at left, and Commissioner Jeremy Miller of Greenville, seated at right as the newest member of the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners, visits with newly elected Montcalm County Sheriff Mike Williams and Register of Deeds Lori Wilson after Tuesday morning’s organizational meeting. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Also during Tuesday’s organizational meeting, commissioners unanimously re-elected Carr as chairman and Retzloff as vice chairman for the next two years; adopted bylaws and rules of procedure; and approved appointments to the county’s five main committees as follows:

Collective Bargaining Committee: Retzloff as chairman, Tom Lindeman as vice chairman, Carr and Ron Braman as members, John Johansen and Kellenberger as two alternates. This committee meets with bargaining units of county employees and often acts as the grievance hearing committee.

• Economic Development & Physical Resources Committee: Johansen as chairman, Braman as vice chairman, Miller and Tom Porter as members, Lindeman as alternate. This committee acts as liaison with the Drain Commission, Building Department, Maintenance Department, Register of Deeds, Parks & Rec Commission, Road Commission, Conservation District, West Michigan Regional Planning Commission, Building Authority, Solid Waste Management Committee, Planning Commission, Brownfield Authority and Montcalm Economic Alliance and recommends policies to the board, as well as recommends office space allocations, the purchasing, disposal and inventory of county property, alternations and additions to county buildings and grounds, evaluates and recommends short-term and long-term planning needs and makes recommendations related to major capital outlays.

Finance & Personnel Committee: Baker as chairman, Johansen as vice chairman, Kellenberger and Retzloff as members, Jeremy Miller as alternate. This committee coordinates, reviews and recommends the annual budget to the full board; makes recommendations on budget changes requested throughout the year, monitors county expenditures, audits bills bi-monthly, makes recommendations regarding interviewing and hiring department heads and makes recommendations regarding employee relations, personnel policies, employee negotiations, fringe benefits, job classifications and salaries.

• Health & Human Services Committee: Lindeman as chairman, Miller as vice chairman, Braman and Porter as members, Baker as alternate. This committee acts as liaison with multiple services organizations and recommends policies to the board.

• Law Enforcement & Courts Committee: Kellenberger as chairwoman, Porter as vice chairman, Baker and Lindeman as members, Retzloff as alternate. This committee acts as liaison with courts, sheriff, prosecutor, Central Dispatch and Animal Control and recommends policies to the board.

“This is my run at where I think people’s strengths and desires are to serve on committees,” said Carr who made the appointments. “I tried to spread the load evenly. Everyone has a chair or a vice chair position.”

Commissioners also approved various outside committee appointments and voted to eliminate the county’s Pension Trust Committee due to the county making changes with Municipal Employees’ Retirement System (MERS) last year.

Visit montcalm.us for more information about upcoming meeting dates, committee appointments and more.

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