Change is in the air for Meridian Township as Julie Brixie steps down from her role as township treasurer to become a state representative.
“I’m really humbled and honored to have been elected the next state representative for the 69th state district,” said Brixie.
Those who applied to fill the remainder of Brixie’s term included Dante R. Ianni, Linda P. Burghardt, Phil Deschaine, Thomas E. Klunzinger and two others who chose to remain confidential.
After a final interview session took place, the Meridian Township Board voted 3-2 in appointing trustee Phil Deschaine as the next township treasurer. On Dec. 7, he started his new role and will continue until the term expires in November of 2020.
Deschaine said he anticipated that Brixie was going to win so he began learning about the treasurer position early on.
He said: “If you know Julie, you know she does not do anything half-heartedly. I knew she was going to run a great campaign. I had actually been doing some training at my own expense to find out what was involved in the township treasurer’s job. When it came down for the board to find a treasurer, I had already gone through about 100 hours of training on the treasurer’s job. I wanted to make myself as qualified as possible for the board.”
Meridian Township trustee Patricia Jackson was a part of the review committee that selected Deschaine to be the next treasurer.
“The things that impressed me the most was the fact that he anticipated that we might need a treasurer and that he went and began to acquire that training,” said Jackson.
Deschaine says he is looking forward to being there at the front counter as people come in to pay their taxes.
He said: “When someone comes in to pay their taxes, I am going to talk to them. I am going to greet them. If they have an issue, I want to talk to them and find out how we can serve them better.”
Dechaine said that he also wants to represent Meridian Township’s services with good interaction when the taxpayers come in.
Speaking about the township, he said: “We provide quality services. Our police and fire departments are top rated. Our parks are some of the best in the state. Our city water and sewage is top rated across the board. We want to make sure residents get good service with a smile and that they have a quality experience with the township.”
Township Manager Frank Walsh said that Deschaine became very well liked in this community through his involvement.
“He’s hardworking and you can trust him. You know trust is the basis of all relationships,” said Walsh.
Deschaine said that he has always been interested in public service and the power of community engagement, involvement and politics.
“I volunteered to serve on the zoning board of appeals,” he said. “Then, I got appointed to the park commission. Then, I ran for public office in 2012. I came a couple hundred votes short of winning so I ran again in 2016 and won a seat as one of the four Meridian Township trustees.”
Brixie has been going through the process of training Deschaine for his new role as he transitions from trustee to treasurer.
“He has been an astute pupil and I’m very confident in his ability to protect the township’s funds and to carry out the duties of the treasurer with the integrity and honesty that residents have been used to,” said Brixie.
Deschaine will be responsible for a budget of about $21 million in 2019.