By Tony Wittkowski | City Reporter | The Times Herald
CROSWELL — Mike McMillan has a lot on his plate.
From spending time with his family to his new job as the probate/family court administrator for St. Clair County, McMillan has found time to fulfill his duties as mayor and a volunteer firefighter in the town of Croswell.
The Port Huron native said he doesn’t believe it’s hard to handle both jobs.
“It’s about time management. I prioritize what job helps pay the bills,” McMillan said. “I’m fortunate that I am able to delegate the work to a capable staff.”
The 36-year-old has spent half his life working in government.
As a teenager fresh out of high school, McMillan filed tickets and answered phones at the St. Clair County Courthouse.
“I would get angry people yelling at me,” he said. “It was a trial by fire lesson to the court system. That’s when I made the decision I wanted to work here.”
As the probate/family court administrator, McMillan oversees wills, estates, family and juvenile matters that come through his department by coordinating with the probate and family divisions.
After receiving a master’s degree in public administration, McMillan became the deputy clerk administrator for Saginaw County before taking over as the circuit court administrator in 2012.
Saginaw was the edge of the limit for him to drive to. McMillan’s normal workday would be four hours on the road to get to and from an eight-hour job.
Aside from having young children in Croswell, he said there were plenty of reasons for him to work closer to home.
With the new job came a reduction in his commute, which diminished from two hours to 40 minutes each morning.
McMillan’s wife, Errin, works at Talmer Bank in Port Huron — a few blocks south from the courthouse.
The two now commute together, with more time allotted to the family.
“I was glad that he would be home more,” Errin McMillan said. “It used to be he wouldn’t get home until 7 or 8 o’clock, so we would only see each other two hours a day. It put a lot of stress on me with the kids.”
Errin and Mike McMillan like to joke that they spread themselves thin. In addition to work, they coach their daughter’s church league basketball team.
Working in Port Huron is something Errin McMillan said her husband was searching for while in Saginaw.
“I think he was always contemplating a return,” she said. “We are very happy to be here.”
A local connection
Sitting in his office on the second floor of the county courthouse, Mike McMillan’s impact can be felt in Croswell, which holds a population of nearly 2,500 and has one streetlight.
McMillan has been the mayor of Croswell, with about 2,500 people, for five years. His wife was born in Croswell, his mother and in-laws live there and his children attend school in the area.
McMillan said he was looking for a way to have an impact on the community after moving there in 2004.
The opportunity came when a Croswell council member died in 2007.
“I wanted to create a place my kids would want to come back to when they leave for college,” McMillan said. “It’s difficult coming back to a city in the Thumb. We want that homey feeling.”
After applying for the vacant position, McMillan was selected to the council. Three years later he was elected mayor.
When McMillan spoke for Career Day at one of his daughter’s kindergarten classes, he was asked by his daughter to go in the capacity of the mayor.
The kids were enamored and asked McMillan if he rode in a limousine or if he had bodyguards.
“For some reason, people are more impressed that I am a mayor,” McMillan said. “Some look at it as an accomplishment, but I look at it as a job.”
Greg Stremers, who practices municipal law, said he’s glad McMillan came back.
“I think he will be successful here. He operates at a very high level. He’s an asset to have in any organization,” Stremers said.
The two stayed in touch when McMillan was working in Saginaw as McMillan was the mayor — and Stremers is Croswell’s lawyer.
“It’s hard to keep good people here in the county,” Stremers said. “Everyone seems to be going to Chicago and the west side of the state.”
McMillan said becoming the county’s probate/family court administrator is a dream come true.
“This is a hard job and very stressful. You catch people at the worst times of their lives,” he said. “But if they can walk out of here feeling the justice system has worked, that’s a good day for me.”
(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Feb. 11, 2015)