McFarlane Appointed to Road Commission

At its March 19, 2014 meeting, the Washtenaw County board of commissioners made appointments to six county committees, commissions and boards. [.pdf of application packet]

The appointments included naming former Superior Township supervisor Bill McFarlane to the Washtenaw County road commission board, to fill the seat left vacant by the recent death of long-time road commissioner Fred Veigel. The remainder of that six-year term runs through Dec. 31, 2014. Unlike most other county appointed boards, road commissioners receive annual compensation of $10,500.

McFarlane was among 10 applicants for the position. Others who applied included former county commissioner Rob Turner; Mike Henry, chair of the Ann Arbor Democratic Party; and University Bank CEO Stephen Ranzini.

Nominations are made by the board chair. The current board chair is Yousef Rabhi (D-District 8). Before the vote on the road commission appointment, there was discussion about changing the process so that interviews with applicants would be held at a public meeting.

Andy LaBarre (D-District 7) noted that the road commission would be the topic of a April 17 working session, which he chairs. He suggested continuing discussion of the issue at that time. The working session will also include a report from the subcommittee that is making recommendations on the future of the road commission. For additional background, see Chronicle coverage: “No Major Change Likely for Road Commission.”

Rabhi described the process of nominating a new road commissioner as a difficult one, and highlighted the need for a five-member road commission. Currently the road commission board consists of three members. It’s an issue that Rabhi plans to bring up at the April 17 working session.

Several other appointments were made on March 19 in a separate vote:

  • Accommodations ordinance commission, for a term ending Dec. 31, 2014: Andy LaBarre (D-District 7).
  • Agricultural lands preservation advisory committee, for a term ending Dec. 31, 2014: Erica Bloom (environmental/conservation group/natural resources professional).
  • Workforce development board, for terms ending Dec. 31, 2016: John Haberthy (private sector) and Matthew Sandstrom (private sector).

In addition, five appointments were made to the Act 88 advisory committee, for terms ending Dec. 31, 2014. Three county commissioners – Conan Smith (D-District 9), Alicia Ping (R-District 3) and Ronnie Peterson (D-District 6) – were appointed, along with citizens Todd Clark and Art Serafinski.

Action on appointing the Act 88 advisory committee had been originally considered at the board’s Feb. 19, 2014 meeting. The item was postponed after Ronnie Peterson (D-District 6) raised concerns over the policy governing the committee’s role. The committee had been created at the board’s Nov. 6, 2013 meeting, as part of a broader policy to help the board allocate revenues levied under Act 88 of 1913. No appointments had been made at that time, however. The county levies the tax to fund economic development and agricultural activities, including Ann Arbor SPARK. [.pdf of March 19 staff memo on Act 88]

This brief was filed from the boardroom of the county administration building at 220 N. Main St. in Ann Arbor. A more detailed report will follow: [link]