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Posted: 02/12/14

McLaughlin will not seek
re-election as village clerk

by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer
      Long-time Village Clerk Marian McLaughlin has announced she will not run for re-election this year.
       At the Feb. 10 Village Board of Trustees meeting, McLaughlin announced her decision to not seek the clerk position in the 2014 election, which will end a 28-year run when she finishes out this term.
       "I've basically dedicated half of my life to this job and this community, and I've loved every minute of it," she said. "There has been tough times and there has been easy times, but it is one of the most fulfilling jobs that a person could ever have."
       McLaughlin was elected as a trustee in 1983 when she was 29 years old, then ran for clerk in 1986. She was appointed to administrator two years later. Outside of the meeting, she said it was time to step down after 28 years and bring in some younger talent.
       "I think I've done a good job, and now it's basically someone else's turn," she said. "Pass it onto the younger generation."
       The announcement emerged during discussions on whether the village will change the clerk and treasurer positions to be filled by appointment as opposed to an election. Trustee Mike Cregar said should the clerk or treasurer not seek re-election, the village would lose qualified and experienced leadership.
       "I would hate to see something happen where someone is elected in a popularity contest and didn't have the wealth of knowledge or the ability or management skills to be successful and continue working with everything we've worked hard to build," he said.
       He suggested the village consider making the positions appointed by the board, or to re-organize to create a new position to handle their duties. He said the Michigan Municipal League (MML) could offer some consulting on the matter.
       "With all the government regulation in the world today the position of clerk and treasurer are much more complicated than they were 25 or 30 years ago," he said.
       McLaughlin suggested the board gain input from the community on whether they would like to still maintain control over selecting the clerk and treasurer, adding that there are qualified people within the village to fill the positions.
       "For the respect to the community, I would have that be made a little more public so that they can have an opportunity to come in and say how they want their government to be run," she said. "Not leaving it to just a few members here saying how a government should be run, but leaving it to those people that we serve."
       Trustee Bob Hart said he would gather input from the MML on what would need to be done if the positions were switched to appointments as well as seeing what other communities are doing to have those options available. Trustees also asked if McLaughlin would provide a description of the responsibilities held by the clerk and administrator positions.
       The meeting also revealed Village Treasurer Melinda Rossell will not seek re-election and retire as of this year. She has served as treasurer since 1993. Rossell was not present at the Feb. 10 meeting.
       The other positions up for vote in this year's election include village president and three trustees. The incumbents are Village President Mike Lee and Trustees Hart, Cregar and Matt Edwards.


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