FERRIS TOWNSHIP — After serving on the Ferris Township Board for an estimated 30 years, the supervisor has resigned.
“It has become necessary for me to resign my position as supervisor of Ferris Township effective upon the appointment of a successor or May 1, whichever occurs first. It has been an honor,” Brian Stratton wrote in his resignation letter, which he submitted to the board last Thursday.
Stratton, who resides in Edmore and was re-elected as supervisor last November, did not return a message seeking comment from The Daily News on Wednesday. Stratton is currently a member of the Michigan Bean Commission as a representative for District 7 as appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder.
The township board had a special meeting Tuesday evening to discuss how to move forward.
According to Trustee Dan Calverley, he believed Stratton resigned for personal reasons.
“I think I can speak for all of us here when I say we’re going to really miss Brian,” Calverley said, with the other three board members nodding in agreement.
Calverley said he could not remember a time when Stratton wasn’t on the township board, and before that, Stratton’s father and grandfather served in Ferris Township’s government.
“He’s going to be sadly missed,” Trustee Randy Stearns said.
Calverley suggested appointing Stearns as the supervisor for the remainder of the term.
“I think with Randy’s experience at the county level … he’s a good fit for this position,” Calverley said.
Stearns previously worked as superintendent of the Road Commission for Montcalm County before retiring in 2012. He worked for the Road Commission a total of 40 years.
“I have lots of experience working with townships and township supervisors,” Stearns noted.
Treasurer Janice Jourdan wondered if the board should open the appointment up to the public before making the decision to appoint Stearns.
“I just feel that the township needs to know what’s going on,” Jourdan said. “If there are other candidates, at least give the public the opportunity to be involved.”
Calverley said he understood wanting to open up the position to the public, but he wondered if there would be any interest because of lack of attendance at township meetings — no residents attended Tuesday’s special meeting.
“(The meeting notice) couldn’t have gone too far,” Stearns said. “I had two people from the county congratulate me on being supervisor today. I said, ‘No, Brian’s resigned.’”
The township board ultimately decided to appoint Stearns as the interim supervisor and allow 10 days for residents to send in a letter of interest and qualifications.
However, Stearns learned on Wednesday that the position of interim supervisor does not exist.
“I just got done checking with the MTA (Michigan Township Association) and there is no such thing as an interim supervisor,” Stearns told The Daily News.
Since the township board unanimously appointed Stearns as interim supervisor 3-0 and he was sworn into office, Stearns was thus appointed to the permanent position of supervisor.
“I’m really looking forward to this opportunity,” Stearns said. “Our township residents are our No. 1 priority. I plan on doing the best job I can do.”
The township board has scheduled another special meeting for 5 p.m. April 17 to discuss how to fill the trustee seat vacated by Sterns.