County board revises schedule to interview commissioner applicants

By Tony Wittkowski | Local Government Reporter | The Times Herald

The St. Clair County Board of Commissioners will name a new commissioner March 20.

Board Chair Jeff Bohm gave a revised schedule of how the board will choose its next commissioner during the Ways and Means Committee meeting Thursday. Eight people applied to represent the 1st District.

Steve Simasko resigned from the board so he could receive his county pension at a higher rate.

A special meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday for the board to allow applicants five minutes to introduce themselves.

“That night we will narrow the list to four candidates,” Bohm said. “Then we would have interviews before our full board meeting on March 19… We just want to make sure everyone has a chance to state their case.”

The final decision will be made at a special meeting held at 11 a.m. March 20. Commissioners were given the applications Tuesday.

State law gives the board 30 days to find a replacement after the seat was vacated. Simasko’s resignation became official Saturday.

Bohm said the board will not hold the interviews until March 19, because commissioner Tom Reilly is out of town until March 18.

Out of the eight people who applied — Fred Fuller, John French Jr., Scott Harris, James Marsh, Mike McGriff, Greg McConnell, Denise McKernan and Randy Schultz — McConnell had two county residents speak on his behalf during public comment.

Doug Hunter of Lynn Township told commissioners that he understands the pressure they are under in replacing Simasko and that McConnell is the clear choice.

“I’ve known Greg for years, he comes from an outstanding family,” Hunter said. “This man wants to share his know-how and make his county a better place to live and work.”

Mussey Township Supervisor Mike Lauwers also took the podium in support of McConnell.

“He is a very conscious, hardworking and trustworthy person,” Lauwers said. “As township supervisor, when I had to talk about a few things that were troubling me, I went to Greg.”

French, a candidate out of Greenwood Township, was in attendance for the committee meeting, but did not make a public comment.

Other business

St. Clair County Undersheriff Tom Buckley and Tim Conger, director for the St. Clair County Central Dispatch introduced a proposal to purchase a new dispatch and records management system called the Courts and Law Enforcement Management Information System.

The system would allow officers to file reports from their cars and share information between any agencies that operate under CLEMIS.

“We have researched the list of products and costs that CLEMIS offers and we believe that this is the most cost effective and best product for our county,” Buckley said. “We have yet to talk to any current user who is not happy with their decision to go to CLEMIS.”

The proposed 2015 fees for acquiring the system would be about $104,000, with nearly $49,000 going toward a one-time installation cost.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at (810) 989-6270 or twittkowsk@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on March 5, 2015)

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