Menominee County Commissioners are pushing back against a proposal in the state legislature to double the length of county commissioner terms. The move from two to four years was suggested because the scope of duties as commissioner is said to have significantly increased and this complex oversight role now requires more time to fully master. However, Commissioner Steve Gromala is adamantly opposed and says it would not only take power away from the voters, but could interfere with the reapportionment process that takes place every 10 years.
“What will happen to board members that have two years remaining on their terms if the size of the board changes? if districts are reapportioned, some voters might not have a choice in who’s representing them for two years. If the committee decides to reduce the number of commissioners, who will decide who gets to keep their jobs for those additional two years of a four-year term?”
The proposal was also promoted as a way for counties to cut down on election costs, but Menominee County Clerk Marc Kleimann says it likely wouldn’t make much of a difference.
“We have the elections every two years- state and federal elections- and whether commissioners are on the ballot every four or two years, that’s not going to change our costs. I raised the same question regarding the apportionment. I did send an email to somebody at the Bureau of Elections asking how that would work because that would be affected by it and they’re supposed to be getting back to me, but the initial response was all of those laws would have to be changed.”
A resolution to support the passage of legislation to adopt four-year terms for county commissioners forwarded to the Menominee County Board by the Michigan Association of Counties failed on a 1- 7 vote at the board meeting Tuesday.