Road commissioner to remain an elected position
REED CITY -- After multiple discussions and two public meetings, the Osceola County Board of Commissioners, on Tuesday, Dec.18, decided to "maintain the status quo" and continue with an elected road commission, after considering going to an appointed board.
"I don't feel that there has been enough input in favor of making a change," BOC Chairman Jack Nehmer said. "At this point, we will leave things as they are."
BOC member Jim Custer, who initiated the discussion of whether or not to go back to an appointed road commission at a meeting in October, told the board the process did one good thing -- it got the information out there for the public to hear.
"A lot of people didn't understand what we were doing, but this got us to where there is public information coming out," Custer said. "I've been for an elected commission all along, but we are going to continue to watch this. People have the right to be able to voice there opinions, and they have the right to have the service they deserve."
BOC member Tim Michell said both the BOC and the road commission have had the opportunity to hear what some of the issues are, and the process has made them take a good look at how things are done.
"I hope there is better communication going forward, and it sounds like we are going to try to make that happen," Michell said. "The board seems ready to appoint a liaison from the BOC to attend the road commission meetings, and I think that will help with understanding the dilemmas and problems the road commission faces."
Road commissioner Alan Gingrich said he was glad the board decided to leave it up to the voice of the people to elect the road commission.
"We have been going around to the different townships and have discussed some different options," Gingrich said. "It's not that we haven't heard the complaints. It's a matter of our pot of gold only being so big. If we take from one place to do work in another, then we sacrifice somewhere else. It's all about deciding where to put the money."
The issue of whether to maintain the elected road commission or go back to an appointed one was initiated in at a meeting in October when BOC members began to address the number of complaints they were hearing from their districts regarding road conditions.
"With all the complaints we are getting, we need to go to the people and let them decide," Custer said at the time. "We serve the public, we should hear what they have to say."
During the two public hearings on the issue, many township representatives spoke in favor of maintaining the elected road commission, saying it was the responsibility of the township board to keep informed about road conditions and to bring those to the road commission.
Many supported the idea that it should be up to the people to decide who will be responsible for the roads, and not up to the county BOC.
Following the discussion, Custer was appointed as road commission liaison, with Michell as an alternate.