By P.J. GLISSON
GOGEBIC COUNTY –
The spring season has brought a broad slate of new leadership to the Gogebic County Chapter of the Michigan Townships Association.
At the most recent meeting last week, three of the four officers were newly elected to their seats.
They are Larry Grimsby as chairman, Jeffery Randall as vice-chairman, and Betty Perkis as secretary. Maria Graser was
re-elected as treasurer. Grimsby and Perkis are from Erwin Township, where he serves as supervisor and she serves as clerk. Randall is the Bessemer Township supervi-
sor, and Graser is the treasurer for Ironwood Charter Township.
Remaining townships with-in the MTA include Wakefield, Marenisco and Watersmeet.
In recent conversations with The Globe, Grimsby explained the current status of the local MTA chapter, along with plans for this year.
“Building better government that’s one of my goals,” said Grimsby, who added that a related goal will be to assure that township officials “have the training and background for public service.”
As he emphasized, “I think oath of office is very important,” along with “knowing what your statutory duties are.” According to the website of the statewide MTA, it represents a total of 1,240 townships in the upper and lower peninsulas.
As stated, “The Michigan Townships Association advances local democracy by fostering township lead- ership and public policy essential for a strong and vibrant Michigan.”
The state umbrella claims that it does not act as an overseer to individual townships, but instead offers advice and training and promotes legislation and policies that benefit township interests. It also encourages townships to work together to “recognize and celebrate the unique virtues of township government.”
The website notes that MTA was created in 1953 as “a unified voice representing Michigan’s township governments. Nearly seven decades later, we are the largest community of local government officials in the state, and one of the largest in the nation.”
Grimsby noted that more specific local goals will be explored at the chapter’s next meeting.
The new chairman added that members also voted to change the traditional structure of their meeting locations. In the past, they met every other month at each of the six town-
ship halls. Now, he said, members will alternate their meetings between the Wakefield and Marenisco Township Halls.
“I felt it was a lot more fair,” said Grimsby of the new plan, which he said allows all members to travel to locations that are fairly centralized for everyone.
He stated that the latest March 28 meeting, which was in Marenisco Township, had “very good attendance,” with all six townships represented, whereas the previous meeting in Erwin Township had only limited attendance.