Results from proposed Mount Pleasant charter amendments still unknown

Adam Niemi/Staff Photographer Mount Pleasant mayor Bruce Kilmer poses for a portrait in front of his office bookshelf consisting of frames of family members and gifts from Japan, where he taught English classes for two years.

The outcomes of three charter amendments for Mount Pleasant remain undecided at 11 p.m. Tuesday as votes wait to be tallied, but the city commission race was determined months ago.

Mount Pleasant City Commission had three slots to fill this election, with exactly three residents running to fill the positions.

Newcomer Matt Sous joined two incumbents, Rick Rautanen and Jon Joslin, as candidates for the open seats.

With the election officially over, Sous can now claim his spot on the commission.

“I’m honored to be selected by the Mount Pleasant residents to serve them,” Sous said. “I look forward to working and representing them on city matters.”

Sous, a 2009 Central Michigan University graduate, has lived in Mount Pleasant since 2005 when he arrived to begin his education at CMU.

Sous has degrees in history and political science, and now works for the American Federation of Teachers, which has two unions at CMU — the graduate student union and the union of teaching faculty.

Sous is concerned with issues including attracting new businesses, recycling, having a bikeable and walkable community, and continued work on developing the Mount Pleasant Center.

Joslin and Rautanen are long-time residents with previous experience on the commission.

Rautanen has only served a partial term, being on the commission for less than a year after taking over when Erik Robinette resigned in January.

Joslin, on the other hand, has been involved in city government for 15 years.

The first amendment to the Mount Pleasant charter which voters were asked to consider was if the city’s charter should be amended to give commissioners leeway in determining the first organizational meeting of the year.

The charter is very specific that the first meeting must be called on the first Monday of January at 8 p.m.

City Manager Kathie Grinzinger and Mayor Bruce Kilmer said this often conflicts with commissioners’ schedules, so this amendment would allow the meeting to be called at any point in January.

This would create flexibility for the commission and allow more of the public to attend, Grinzinger said.

The second proposed amendment to the city charter states the city clerk will post a notice of each special meeting of the commission at least 18 hours before the meeting.

Right now the charter requires notice be posted 12 hours before the time of a special meeting, but switching it to 18 hours will put the city in compliance with Michigan law.

Grinzinger said the city will always comply with state law regardless of the outcome of the vote, but amending the charter would help avoid confusion.

The final amendment for the charter would allow appointed members of any city agency, board or committee serves without term limits.

The charter currently requires that no volunteer can serve more than two consecutive terms on the same board.

Grinzinger said the amendment would allow volunteers doing a good job to keep their positions, but still allow a person to be terminated if necessary.


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