By Shelby Stewart
Ortonville- On Monday night, the village council voted 6-0 to accept the resignation of now-former council member Karen Sleva, effective immediately.
“We appreciate the two years of time and commitment that Karen Sleva has served, as a Trustee on the Village of Ortonville Council,” said village president Tonja Brice. “During that time Ms. Sleva was an integral player in updating ordinances and policies, and actively participating as the Council liaison to the Historical Society. She was a Trustee who paid attention to details when researching, rephrasing, and reworking clarification of procedures. We are saddened by Ms. Sleva’s resignation, wish her well in future endeavors, and look forward to continue working with her in other projects in our community.”
The council also voted 4-2 to appoint Colleen Skornicka, who served on the council and ran against Brice for president in the last election.
Brice and councilman Larry Hayden voted no, while council members Mark Robinson, Mark Butzu, Dan Eschmann and Pat George voted in favor of the appointment. There was some discussion if the appointment is against procedure. Skornicka was not present at the meeting.
The motion was made by council member Mark Robinson and seconded by Mark Butzu
“Procedure is we post the position, and then we talk with candidates, we get a chance to meet with them and discuss with them,” said Brice at the meeting. “There is a possibility there could be other candidates, we have no idea who that is. As with every opening, we post, it’s a procedure, we follow the procedures, we can’t just suddenly have this dropped in our lap when we come to a meeting and expect to make decisions. We have to make fully educated decisions.”
As it was further discussed, it was determined that the motion did comply to municipal law, though it may not have been village procedure.
“According to the law, we appoint the position, it does not state that we have to pick a position based upon the last election results or anything else,” said Hayden. “It just says the villages, if you read MCL 62.13, it states that it is villages responsibility to appoint vacancies in the trustee positions, and I think that if we are going to do our job conscientiously, we should give proper time to give any of the candidates that we would consider the opportunity to present themselves. That to me is just a courtesy to the candidates.”
Skornicka was also previously appointed to the council nine years prior. The last trustee appointment occurred in November of 2017 when Mark Robinson was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Keith Dylus. Dylus resigned in October of 2017 and then president Wayne Wills made the recommendation of Robinson at the regular November meeting after Wills had been able to discuss the position with him.
“So past protocol, of any open trustee seat, we did not post, it was always recommended by council and approved by council as a whole, not any one or two people,” said president pro tempore Dan Eschmann. “And nine years ago when Trustee Skornicka was nominated, she was nominated the same way we’re doing tonight.”