Tami Hillis will serve as clerk for the remainder of the current term. She said her goal is to assist the office and board in taking care of things that haven’t been done “due to illness from the previous clerk.”
“My goal is to basically get the township back on track and hopefully serve the community, and hopefully all goes well,” Hillis said.
The Michigamme Township Board elected Hillis at Monday’s meeting. At that meeting, former Michigamme Township Supervisor Rhonda Boshears submitted her letter of resignation.
In her letter, Boshears stated that she made the choice to step down due to disagreements with certain board members.
This is the second recent resignation on the Michigamme Township Board. Before Boshears, previous clerk Neil Hanson submitted his letter of resignation on Aug. 31.
In his letter, Hanson stated his last day in his position would be Oct. 1. This choice was to give the board time to find his replacement and “ensure a smooth transition.”
On July 11, prior to Hanson’s resignation from the clerk position, Michigamme resident Johnnie Hillis, Tami Hillis’ husband, submitted a recall petition.
The petition alleged that Hanson had “relinquished his administrative powers to the township supervisor.”
Johnnie Hillis stated in the petition that Hanson has “relinquished his administrative powers to the township supervisor.”
“He has completely neglected statutory duties noted in the (Michigan Townships Association) guidebook. He has failed to respond to township emails, answer phone calls and (attends) meetings rarely,” the petition states. “He requires assistance in all aspects of administration and when confronted is apoplectic.”
The Marquette County Election Commission approved the language of the recall on July 26. Because Hanson did not appeal the decision, the process of collecting signatures on the petition was allowed to move forward.
In a phone interview on Sept. 28, Johnnie Hillis said he collected 60 signatures. However, due to Hanson’s resignation, the scheduled recall election for November will not be held.
Johnnie Hillis said the recall election was “illegally halted by the county clerk.”
“I’m pretty much done with the township right now,” Johnnie Hillis said. “I think they’re going to get forced to a special election unless something happens in the interim.”
Marquette County Clerk Linda Talsma said in an email on Sept. 18 that since Hanson notified the Michigamme Township Board of his resignation, the recall was ceased.
“Neil Hanson gave a four-week notice in his resignation letter, allowing the board to have adequate time for the appointment of a new clerk,” Talsma said.
Boshears said in a Sept. 19 email that the recall election was canceled by Talsma before the Michigamme Township Board accepted Hanson’s resignation.
“This action took away the public’s opportunity to vote for the incumbent or for the individual who would have been on the recall ballot,” Boshears said.
Talsma said she was included on the same resignation letter the Michigamme Township Board received on Aug. 31. Talsma said no special meeting was called until Sept. 11.
The Michigamme Township Board held its Sept. 11 meeting to accept Hanson’s resignation, but the vote failed on a 2-2 tie.
“Two members stated that the clerk leaving at this time puts the township not only without a clerk but also a deputy who is trained in running elections,” Boshears said.
Johnnie Hillis has since resigned from his position as deputy supervisor with Michigamme Township as of Sept. 26.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen in Michigamme Township. It’s a mess, a mess (created) by certain board members and certain county officials,” Johnnie Hillis said. “I think it’s something that can’t be fixed.”
Tami Hillis said her husband “would truly have been a great clerk.”
“As a retired Army first sergeant, his leadership and administrative skills would have helped the township move forward and fix some of the issues that are plaguing the township,” she said in an Oct. 12 email. “Unfortunately, he did not get a majority vote when they tried to appoint him last month. We were both frustrated with the outcome and the township, and the community truly lost someone who would have been a tremendous asset.”
Tami Hillis said during Monday’s meeting she was nominated by the supervisor and all the board members voted yes.
“I was not expecting this, so I asked if I could have until the end of the week to decide. So, after talking with my husband last night, we were discussing how I could impact the community more,” she said. “I decided to accept the clerk position and quit as the township’s administrative assistant.”
Tami Hillis said in an email Thursday that the township’s first step in finding a replacement for Boshears was posting the vacancy on the township website and throughout the community.
“We are hoping to get a wide range of candidates, so we have a selection to choose from,” Tami Hillis said.
Source: The Mining Journal