By: Benjamin J. Gohs, News Editor
The decision to appoint someone to fill the seat vacated by ailing East Jordan City Commissioner Ray Fisher was postponed until a special meeting slated for Wednesday Feb. 15.
So far, at least three people have applied for the seat which has most of its two-year term left, but a decision to appoint was not made during last week’s meeting after East Jordan City Commissioner Tony Cutler introduced an idea to reduce the number of seats on the East Jordan City Commission from seven to five.
“We are currently governed by seven people and a lot of the surrounding communities operate with five commissioners,” Cutler said. “We had seven commissioners back when we did not have a manager system and I think that was designed to handled the day-to-day operations, but we need to get to the point where we embrace the manager system and let him (East Jordan City Administrator Bob Anderson) do his job so we can focus on operating in an oversight capacity.”
Cutler’s proposal met with skepticism and concerns from several of his fellow commissioners.
But, Cutler said not only would the move save taxpayers money – at least $900 annually in stipends – but it would reduce the amount of time wasted when there are too many overseers.
“We have seen a lot of success in communities with more streamlined and efficient government,” Cutler said. “
Cutler’s plan would involve not appointing a replacement for Fisher and eliminating one more seat at the next election in addition to staggering the terms of the remaining five seats.
“East Jordan has a population of about 2,200 people – the number of representatives per capita would still be higher than that of surrounding communities,” he said. “
One concern raised was that the East Jordan City Charter calls for an appointment to be made in the event of a mid-term resignation.
Anderson said his reading of the meeting is that the commission does not want to endure the cost or time necessary to hold a special election.
“Hopefully enough of them can agree that they will accept one candidate,” Anderson said.
He added, jokingly, “The mayor has vowed to lock the doors until they agree on somebody.”
The special meeting will begin at 7 p.m. On Wednesday Feb. 15 at East Jordan City Hall.