The County Board of Commissioners, in their final meeting of the year, hired a new corporate council for the county and rescinded their motion to reject Community Mental Health’s (CMH) recommendation for their new CEO from a previous meeting.
County Prosecutor, John Miller, has retained the position as corporate council for the board of commissioners since 2021. Many of the current commissioners have stated they want Prosecutor Miller to focus on prosecuting criminals and not spending time reviewing contracts and other tasks that take away from the Prosecutor’s primary role.
After some months of interviewing different law firms, the board’s search committee, which included Commissioners Gary Howell, Bill Hamilton and Chairman Tom Kohlman as well as County Administrator Moses Sanzo and CFO Jackie Arnold, the committee unanimously agreed on the Kelly Firm, PLC out of Auburn Hills, MI.
During discussion time at the meeting before the final vote the Board chairman Tom Kohlman said, “I have the utmost confidence in you [to Dan Kelly who was present at the meeting] and feel very confident in our choice”. Commissioner Howell also stated before the board voted, “Among our 3 committee members we were very impressed and are looking forward, if the board so chooses, to enter into an agreement with The Kelly Firm.” The board proceeded to confirm the committee’s recommendation with a unanimous decision to hire the firm. The Kelly Firm’s contract with the county will start on January 1, 2024.
The board also rescinded their past motion to reject the CMH recommendation for the hiring of Brooke Sankiewicz as the new CMH CEO, since the current CEO Lauren Emmons is retiring this coming year on January 31, 2024. Sankiewicz will start as the new CEO on February 1, 2024
The County board of commissioners rejected the past recommendation on the grounds they felt the CMH’s search and hiring process wasn’t very transparent. They believed there wasn’t enough transparency and requested the CMH board to do a better job at getting candidates that fit the requirements.
In the end, Brooke Sankiewicz was the best candidate in both candidate searches. The second search committee had two commissioners, Haggadone and Kohlman, sitting on the committee and both were able to be a part of the hiring process.
In the county board meeting today Commissioner Haggadone stated, “make no mistake, I know for you Mr. Chairman, and myself, it was never about the candidate the first time, it was about the process. And it was even stated in our last CMH meeting by some long standing members of our board that they liked the process the second time because the entire board got to be involved in it. So, in no way shape or form and I’m going to say this publicly loud and clear, Brooke has my full support and I look forward to voting for her, next Thursday, to be the CEO of the Lapeer County CMH”.
Commissioner Bill Hamilton brought forth a revised version of a broadband resolution, which simply states the county is in full support of private companies coming into Lapeer and expanding internet to the residents of the county.
This is the second time this type of resolution has been brought forward for broadband. The previous resolution was geared toward a middle mile project that could take as long as 6 years to install and another 10-12 years to complete the second phase. Many other commissioners did not support the previous resolution as it was written because they did not feel the county was obligated to provide internet to the residents. As a result, the previous resolution did not pass.
Spectrum has stated they have started another project, which will be bringing internet to 1900 more homes to the county in Marathon Twp., Deerfield Twp., Lapeer Twp., Hadley Twp., and Elba Twp.
The board unanimously voted on the new resolution to support these expansions of broadband internet from outside companies to the residents of Lapeer County.
As the board concluded their 2023 year of meetings, which was for six of the seven commissioners their first year serving on the board, many looked hopeful for the coming future.
Commissioner Brad Haggadone called it “a year of growth, a lot of lessons learned, a lot of humble pie eaten, but it’s been a great year and we’re ending on a good note.”
Commissioner Truman Mast echoed his sediments stating he liked cake better and “ate a lot of humble cake this year.”
Mast went on to say, “It’s been a good year for me, I’ve learned a lot. This is brand new to me, never served in this position ever so I got to learn a lot and made a lot of mistakes. If I don’t make mistakes that means I’m usually not doing anything. I’m ok with making mistakes and don’t want to not learn from them. I don’t want to be afraid to say, ‘I’m sorry’, if I did something wrong. I hope I’ve done that.”
All the commissioners look forward to 2024 and wish everyone a Merry Christmas.