What was once a calm Williamston City Council meeting turned into a heated debate within the city hall chambers, pitting the Farmers’ Market Ad Hoc Committee and the Williamston City Council. A “spirited back-and-forth” is how the newly-minted council member Daniel Rhines described it. The Williamston Farmers’ Market is set to run for May 20 to Oct. 14. It’s an annual tradition many residents are fond of — including a number of council members.
Among the trio hoping for the vacant spot on the Williamston City Council, they all have one key aspect in common: They’ve been residents of the town for decades. They won’t hear back from the city council until the Feb. 26 meeting — when the council makes its final decision — so they’re on standby. Otherwise, the three know how the minuscule details of Williamston well; fine-tuned over the course of their tenure residing within the town. Stephen Bartig’s a fourth-generation resident.
While the Williamston City Council welcomed its newest member to its ranks — council member John Bisard — there is one spot still up for grabs. And for at least the next two weeks, it’ll stay that way: Vacant. As is procedure, the City Council met again Monday evening, as it’s wont to do every second and fourth Monday of the month. And as part of the agenda, the public servants interviewed the third and final applicant for the open spot, Paula Curtis. Curtis brings a Williamston-heavy resume, as she said she’s been in the town for the past 55 years.
By ERIC FREEDMAN
Capital News Service
LANSING — The recent FBI and State Police search of Sen. Bert Johnson’s office in Lansing and home in Highland Park serves as a reminder that illegal conduct, corruption and scandal don’t carry party labels. Details of the federal-state investigation of Johnson, D-Highland Park, remain incomplete, but news reports suggest it may relate to questionable staff payroll practices. Evidence in Michigan and elsewhere in the country demonstrates that some politicians — regardless of party affiliation — don’t respect the law, the public or the oath they swore
Think about recent history in the state:
Republican ex-Rep. Todd Courser of Lapeer, expelled from the House in disgrace last year in an adultery scandal, faces trial in May on a perjury charge. Republican ex-Rep. Cindy Gamrat of Plainwell, who resigned in the same scandal, had her perjury and misconduct in office charges dismissed last June. Democratic ex-Rep. Brian Banks of Detroit was sentenced in February for filing false financial statements to secure a loan.
By KAREN HOPPER USHER
Capital News Service
LANSING — A lot of new faces will be in county boardrooms come January. More than 130 county commissioner seats statewide will be filled by people new to their jobs — a 21 percent turnover rate, according to the Michigan Association of Counties. And that’s just because of the August primary. In the November general election, 145 more seats remain in contention. If all of them get new commissioners, that would be a turnover rate of 44 percent, said John Amrhein, a public policy educator at Michigan State University Extension.