HARPER WOODS — The Aug. 19 death of longtime Grosse Pointes-Clinton Refuse Disposal Authority Chair Joseph Leonard left the board members saddened and without their seasoned leader, but they believe they’ve found a suitable replacement in their new chairperson.
During a Sept. 18 meeting in Harper Woods — the first board meeting since Leonard’s death — the members voted unanimously in favor of naming Grosse Pointe Shores representative Brett Smith as the GPCRDA Board chair. GPCRDA Secretary Dale Krajniak, who represents Grosse Pointe Park, said Smith has served for more than 20 years. Like Leonard, Smith has a city government background, having served as the Shores’ public works director for roughly 25 years. Smith worked closely with Leonard and considered Leonard a mentor.
Krajniak said Smith has “got the (GPCRDA) history down more than anybody (else).”
Clinton Township representative Ken Pearl concurred that Smith’s experience made him a good candidate for the position, and he congratulated Smith on being named to this seat.
The board also voted unanimously to retain Pearl as vice chair, Krajniak as secretary and Grosse Pointe City representative Donald Parthum as treasurer. Krajniak suggested keeping the other officers the same, and fellow board members agreed.
Leonard, who represented Grosse Pointe Farms, has been replaced by Farms Public Service Director Terry Brennan. Like Smith, Brennan learned a great deal from Leonard, having succeeded him when Leonard retired as public service director a decade ago.
Smith was unable to attend the GPCRDA meeting because he had a Shores City Council meeting at the same time. He was surprised to learn he’d been elected the GPCRDA Board chair.
“I’m happy and glad that they have confidence in me,” Smith said after hearing the news. “I’m looking forward to the new challenge and serving with integrity.”
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