Two Applicants Vie for Road Commission Seat

Two people have applied for the job of Washtenaw County road commissioner, a position that’s expected to be vacated by current commissioner Ken Schwartz when he takes over as supervisor for Superior Township on Oct. 1. The two applicants are Barbara Fuller and Lisa Solomon.

The deadline to apply was Sept. 25. The position would be for the remainder of a six-year term, through Dec. 31, 2018.

Schwartz held one of three seats on the road commission, which oversees the maintenance of about 1,650 miles of roads in the county that are outside of cities and villages, including about 770 miles of gravel roads. Road commissioners are appointed by the county board of commissioners. Board chair Yousef Rabhi plans to nominate a candidate at the board’s Oct. 2 meeting.

Fuller, who lives in Manchester, served as deputy supervisor in Pittsfield Township from 2008-2012. She provides organizational management and consulting services, and has served in a variety of leadership roles for groups including the Washtenaw Community College Foundation Women’s Council and the Montessori School Board.

In her cover letter, Fuller cites her experience with funding and road-related issues while serving as Pittfield Township’s deputy supervisor. She wrote: “Years of engagement in the public, private and non-profit sectors have developed my ability to participate constructively and contribute positively in tense situations. Being receptive to new ideas and possessing a willingness to explore creative approaches to resolving issues are attributes that can add value in these times of shrinking resources.” Among her references are current road commissioner Doug Fuller and state Rep. David Rutledge (D-District 54), a former road commissioner. She is not related to Doug Fuller. [.pdf of Barbara Fuller's application materials]

Solomon, an Ann Arbor resident, is a business analyst with the University of Michigan Parking & Transportation Services, with a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from UM. In her cover letter, Solomon wrote that her previous work as a consultant “primarily focused on roadway, traffic and transit projects, providing what I envision to be a solid base for understanding the projects, issues and opportunities encountered by the Road Commission on a daily basis. My current employment at the University of Michigan is focused in a transportation and customer-service oriented environment, in which I have gained valuable experience in customer service, operations analysis and a deep respect for my many co-workers who are labor union members.” [.pdf of Solomon's application materials]

In a phone interview on Sept. 26 with The Chronicle, Rabhi indicated that he’d be getting feedback from other county commissioners before deciding who to nominate. He said he wouldn’t be inclined to nominate someone who didn’t apply. Rabhi also noted that adding diversity to the road commission fits with his general goals. If either of the two applicants is appointed, she would be the first woman to serve on the road commission since Pam Byrnes was appointed in 2000. Byrnes had been the first woman ever to serve on the road commission, but resigned before the end of her six-year term, when she was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 2004.

Other current road commissioners are Doug Fuller and Fred Veigel, who also is a member of the county’s parks & recreation commission. The salary for road commissioners, which is set by the county board, is $10,500 annually.