Sunday, July 24, 2011

Not Minding my Own Business

An announcement, a story, an editorial, and letters to the editor. 

It is always interesting to me when someone decides to leave public office in the middle of a term.  You know for how long you are making a commitment to work when you run for office.  So, unless there are extenuating circumstances, why leave?  My guess has always been that you leave so some favored person can be appointed to your job.

Now, I am no stranger to politicians leaving office during their term.  With an active recall campaign going on in West Bloomfield in 1988, the Clerk quit.  I applied along with many others, got the local newspaper endorsement (some called it the 'kiss of death' since they appeared to be supporting the recall), but did not get appointed.

Fast forward from January to April, and the Supervisor, also a recall target and unfortunately seriously ill (he would die in November), resigned.  Their was another interview process and the current Treasurer was appointed.  That meant another open position.  And another appointment.

This time I applied and was appointed.  I ran that year and stayed in office until November, 2008.  I made a decision not to seek re-election in late 2007.  But I had no intention of resigning before my term was over, and not because I did not want the Board members making the appointment, but because I had made a commitment I intended to keep.

There were other vacancies on the Board during my term of office.  Two trustees resigned to run for other offices.  A Supervisor died during her term.  A trustee died during his term.  The Board made appointments to all of these vacancies from outside the Board itself.  And there were many people who thought we should have held elections and many who thought we did the right thing. 

I was asked if I had picked out a successor to my position when I decided not to run.  Of course not.  That was not my decision to make.  I did support the Republican candidate who opted to run, but unfortunately he lost the election.

Too often I have seen other communities appoint an 'heir apparent'.  I can understand why citizens get upset.  By the time the actual election occurs, many citizens have forgotten what happened a year earlier and vote for name recognition.  I remember being told how lucky I was that I got appointed in May.  With tax bills being sent out on July 1, everyone would remember my name for the August primary.  My opponents?  No such luck.

But the point of all of this is that if you make the commitment to run for a four-year term, then you make the commitment to finish, barring any emergency.

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