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Posted: 06/11/14

Village appoints HDC
member as new trustee

Observer Staff Writer
      A longtime Romeo resident and member of the Historic District Commission (HDC) has become the seventh member of the Village Council.
       The Village Board of Trustees voted 5-1 on June 2 to appoint Wayne "Skip" Tornow to fill a vacancy on its board. Trustee Christine Malzahn was the dissenting vote.
       Tornow replaces Russell Rinke, who stepped down in May after announcing he would be moving out of the village. Tornow was chosen among nine applicants, seven of whom spoke to the board at the special meeting.
       Village President Mike Lee said he was impressed with all of the candidates, but Tornow's background with budgeting and his consistent attendance as a member of the Historic District Commission (HDC) stood out to him.
       "I know a lot of people like working with him," he said. "He has been in the community for quite a few years       Malzahn said she cast her vote because she wasn't familiar with Tornow or his background, but personally knew others that applied.
       "I was hesitant to his qualifications," she said.
       According to his application letter, Tornow has served on the village's HDC for 10 years and has been active in the local Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs. He has lived in Romeo since 1981 with the exception of 1986 to 1988 when he lived in Lansing and 2000-2003 while living in Germany.
       Tornow said he was inspired to apply because he believes people should give back to their community.
       "I enjoy giving back and being a part of it," he said. "I feel like this is kind of going to the next level."
       He said for the past 40 years he has held various managerial positions in the automotive industry, including his current position of Director of Global Automotive OEM Development for Valspar Automotive Refinish. Tornow holds a bachelor's degree in industrial administration from the General Motors Institute.
       He said his profession has given him firsthand experience of dealing with budgets, an item he believes is one of the biggest challenges Romeo faces due to a declining tax base.
       "We need to come up with ways to deliver services," Tornow said. "It's going to take some work to accomplish that."
       He said his current plans are to run for election in November to fill the remaining two years of Rinke's term. He will still serve on the HDC.
       The positions up for election this year include village president, clerk, treasurer and four trustee positions when including the two-year term.

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