Meet the candidates: Evart city council

Voters in Mecosta, Osceola and Lake counties will have the opportunity to make their voices heard in several elections in 2022.

Voters in Mecosta, Osceola and Lake counties will have the opportunity to make their voices heard in several elections in 2022.

Pioneer image/Ronald DeBrock

EVART — Voters in Evart will choose between four different candidates for open city council seats on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Current council member Dan Elliott is not running for re-election.

Incumbent Sandra Szeliga has served a four year term and is running for re-election.  Also on the ballot is Jim Schwab, Shawn Pattee and Vanessa Jones.

The Herald Review reached out to each of the candidates for a Q&A. These are their responses:

Sandra Szeliga

Szeliga was born and raised in the Evart area. She worked for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for over 30 years, and after retiring worked with the Osceola County Commission on Aging.

Why did you decide to run for re-election to the Evart city council?

I feel that there is more to be accomplished, and I want to do what I can to see Evart move forward.

What do you feel are the most pressing issues facing the city right now?

Affordable housing, downtown development, continuing to develop Evart as a tourist destination, and improve our infrastructure.

How will you tackle those issue if re-elected?

We have made some progress in all the areas of concern, and I would like to continue to work to see some of those plans move forward. I am also on the board of the DDA, which is actively pursuing the development of downtown.  Our infrastructure is a big priority, and I am incredibly pleased to say that our DPW will be able to do many of the projects planned “in house,” which will be an incredible savings to the city.

Why should people vote for you?

I feel I have a lot to contribute. I was elected to represent the people, and that is what I have done.  I only want the best for Evart, and the people I serve.

Shawn Pattee

Pattee is a lifelong resident of Evart. His family owned Pattee Electric for over 20 years and his grandmother, Ann Pattee, served as city clerk for 30 years. He worked as meat manager for Family Fare. He served on the Evart Recreation Committee and was chairman for 2 years, and started the Evart Pop Warner Youth football program, which he ran for 10 years.

Why did you decide to run for Evart city council?

Having been born and raised in the community of Evart has been a blessing. As I have grown older, I have chosen to continue to live in this beautiful city. I would like to be a part of the solution to seeing Evart get back to being a welcoming community, where people want to raise their families because it truly does have a lot to offer.

What do you feel are the most pressing issues facing the city at this time?

Some of the issues that have been brought to my attention by the residents of Evart are roads, housing, and city ordinances not being followed. I am a person who looks forward to continuing to gain knowledge and having an open dialogue with the citizens of Evart. I would like to work with the mayor, city manager, and city council as a team to solve the issues that the residents of Evart have. 

How will you tackle those issues if elected?

By continuing to educate myself on the issues and finding out the facts and working together as a team to solve these issues.

Why should people vote for you?

If people are looking for an elected official who believes in working hard, gaining knowledge on the issues, and searching out the truth; someone who is independent, believes in using common sense, and keeping it simple, who sticks to the fundamentals, and is qualified for this position, then I would hope they would consider voting for me.

Jim Schwab

Schwab has lived in Evart four just over four years, moving here to be closer to his grandchildren. He grew up in Marion and worked in manufacturing. He is a member of the Evart Lion’s Club.

Why did you decide to run for Evart city council?

I decided to run for Evart city council as I felt the need and concerns of citizens to make sure their best interests were observed. This is a great community with people who care, and I want to be part of that.

What do you feel are the most pressing issues facing the city right now?

Although blight is being addressed at the city level, it needs to continually be followed through at every level of blight big and small. Also, I am a big supporter of getting the sidewalk conditions upgraded and am willing to work with anyone to speed the process up. Again, the city has taken steps to address this, but process is slow.    

How will you tackle those issues if elected?

I will work with those involved and encourage inventory of unmanageable sidewalks that prevent walkers /mobility assisted citizens from using the sidewalks, forcing them going into street.     

Why should people vote for you?

I will have a complete understanding with what is brought forward before consideration of any vote on behalf of the voters of Evart. I served on the Evart Planning Commission. I have attended several city council meetings. I worked as a City of Evart precinct worker in 2020 General Election and in 2022 Primary Election.
 
Vanessa Jones did not respond to our questions prior to press time.

City Clerk Amendment

Also on the ballot is a proposal to amend the city charter to make the position of city clerk an appointed position rather than an elected position. According to current city clerk Kathy Feibig, the city has had difficulty finding qualified candidates willing to run for the position. By making it an appointed position, the council will have the ability to reach beyond the city limits for applicants.

The ballot proposal reads as follows: Shall the Charter, of the City of Evart, be amended, by amending Sections 3.7; 4.1; 4.3; 4.10; 6.1 & 6.4, to change the Evart City Clerk, from an elected position, elected by the City Electors, to an appointed position, appointed by the City Council, to take effect in November, 2024, or upon a vacancy, in that office, whichever occurs first?