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15 seek vacant council seats

November 21, 2012
Steve Schulwitz - News Staff Writer , The Alpena News

ALPENA - Alpena Municipal Council has scheduled a pair of special meetings for next week that the council members will use to screen potential appointees for the two vacant council seats left open by the recall of former Councilmen Mike Nunneley and Dave Karschnick. Whoever is appointed will only fill the position until February when the voters will fill the seats full time after a special election.

Fifteen city residents submitted resumes or letters of interest to the clerk's office before Wednesday's 12 p.m. deadline. Among those wishing to be on the council are former Councilman Mike Polluch, Mark Hunter who was defeated by Matt Waligora in the race for mayor in 2011, and Jorden Susewitz who lost a close election for Alpena County commissioner earlier this month. The list of candidates range in age and levels of experience. Clerk Karen Hebert said she believed there would be considerable interest by people wishing to sit on the council, but she never thought there would be as much as there was.

"I am surprised we got this many, but it is exciting to know that this many people are interested in the positions," Hebert said. "There are some familiar and some unfamiliar names, as well as some that are younger, older and in between. There is a lot of talent and knowledge and some who are sitting on different boards, so it is exciting."

The first special meeting on Tuesday will be open to the candidates to introduce themselves and address the council if they choose. The council will then have some discussion, but the appointments won't take place until at least the next special meeting.

"On Tuesday the council will get a chance to listen to each of the applicants if they choose to speak, because it is not a requirement," Hebert said. "They will then talk amongst themselves and narrow the list down so that Thursday they can do a final interview and hopefully appoint two people and I will probably swear them in. If they aren't sworn in Thursday they will for sure at the regular meeting on Dec. 3."

Hebert said a large percentage of the applicants for the two seats also have pulled petitions to gather signatures that would allow them to be on the February ballot in the special election. Each potential candidate must collect 50 signatures from city residents who are registered voters. Hebert said the deadline for filing for the election is Dec. 4 at 4 p.m. She said the list of people who may choose to run in February could be extensive. She said there also could be more changes to the board a year from now when Councilmen Shawn Sexton and Sam Eiler have their terms expire.

Fact Box

Alpena Municipal Council appointment pool (2-seats)

Steve Gilmore

Karol Walchak

Carol Lund

Cameron Augustyn

Mike Polluch

Susan Nielsen

Mark Hunter

Doug Pilarski

Phillip Wiser

Michael Nowak

Kim Stevens

Thomas VanDuinen

John Zawacki

Jorden Susewitz

Richard Matteson

"The majority of them have expressed interest in running in February, so there will be a good list for the election for the voters to choose from," Hebert said. "Then we will have two seats on the ballot again in November, but whether they decide to run again I don't know."

The special meetings on Tuesday and Thursday are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. in the council chambers at city hall. The meeting is open to the public and comment is welcome.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at or by phone at 358-5689.



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