Out of nine applicants, the Meridian Township Board unanimously selected Scott Hendrickson and Marna Wilson to fill the vacant trustee seats on on March 15. They were sworn on March 17.
One seat opened up after former trustee Dan Opsommer left the board early last month to be assistant township manager. Then, Patricia Herring-Jackson was appointed to Township Supervisor after former supervisor Ron Styka’s death meaning she vacated her trustee seat.
“We are very happy to have returned to a fully functional Township board with two new members who are well known and respected in Meridian Township,” Herring-Jackson said. “The Board determined that Marna Wilson and Scott Hendrickson both bring slightly different perspectives but shared values and interests to the Township Board. We look forward to working with them to accomplish our goals for the community.”
Meet Marna Wilson
This isn’t the first time Marna Wilson, 36 year Meridian resident, has served as a trustee in the township. She was elected to the board in 1992 serving four years. From 1988 to 1992, she was the township’s Planning Commissioner.
Being back in the seat, she said, is full circle.
“My whole life is spent in service and it was familiar to me what the role would be, and I thought why not?” Wilson said. “Why not try to obtain this leadership position in township government? I feel quite confident that I can add to the conversation and will be an active and supportive board member.”
What she is most proud of, she said, is working for the Downtown Lansing Food Pantry for the past nine and a half years.
She is also the past President of the Haslett-Okemos Rotary Club, Board Member of the Friends of Okemos Library, member of the Indian Hills Homeowners Association Board and a member of the Meridian Garden Club.
Before retiring, she spent the last 10 years of her working career at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation as the auditor of tax credits, and businesses and programs.
Wilson is from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. She earned her undergraduate at the University of New Mexico. She has two master’s degrees. From Wayne State University, she has a Masters of Science in Library Science and Science and Medicine and from Aquinas College, she has a masters in management.
As for what she hopes to accomplish in the position, she said she fully embraces the 2022 goals set by the board. She noted environmental policy and the protection of wetlands, affordable housing options and the redevelopment of core communities in Haslett and in Okemos.
“In my life of service, I have always looked for the betterment of the community and service to the people of that community,” she said. “It’s important to me that this is a global view of what is best for this community.”
Meet Scott Hendrickson
Hendrickson moved to Meridian Township in 2011 working as a legislative aid to Glenn Anderson.
A Chief Deputy Clerk for Ingham County since 2019 he tried for a vacant trustee seat back in 2018 as well but wasn’t selected. But then, former township supervisor Ron Styka suggested he join the township’s Planning Commission. Hendrickson joined the Planning Commission in 2019 in addition to the Local Officers Compensation Commission.
He later became the Chair of the Planning Commission. But soon after, the pandemic hit.
“I sort of was thrust into this role of being the chair, which I had not yet had an opportunity to do, as well as trying to navigate the Planning Commission through the pandemic, which was exciting and new and different for everyone at every level of government,” Hendrickson said. “So I spent two years doing that … And I’m pleased to say that, we were able to continue progress on a number of key projects, even despite the pandemic stepping in.”
He graduated from Michigan State University with three bachelors degrees in international relations, economics and French.
Because of that, when the seats became vacant this year, Hendrickson said he felt as though he was a much better candidate now.
“Because now I’ve got that experience,” he said. “Now, I’ve had that time to get to know some of the issues confronting the township.”
As for what he hopes to accomplish as a trustee, he breaks it down into short, medium and long term goals. In the short term, he hopes to change a number of city ordinances including one that requires residents to approach the Zoning Board of Appeals before renovating their homes. Medium term, he wants to focus on economic development including Downtown Okemos, Downtown Hazlet, and the Meridian Mall.
Long term, he looks to “big ticket items” such as being a leader in the state of Michigan and environmental sustainability by preserving wetlands, addressing flooding issues in the township, and prepare for the future with investments in clean energy.
The two new trustees will attend their first board meeting April 12. These appointees in addition to Herring-Jacskon, will need to run for office in the 2022 August Primary and 2022 General Election to serve the remainder of these terms expiring 2024.
The Meridian Township Board, can be reached through the township’s website.