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 Tamara Crkovski checks in to vote with election inspector Suzanne Simon, both of Birmingham, during last May’s election at Birmingham City Hall.

Tamara Crkovski checks in to vote with election inspector Suzanne Simon, both of Birmingham, during last May’s election at Birmingham City Hall.

File photo by Deb Jacques


Birmingham clerk resigns for ‘new career’

Acting Clerk Arft puts out call for election inspectors

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published September 23, 2019

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BIRMINGHAM — The vote must go on.

The Birmingham City Clerk’s Office is in flux at the moment with the sudden resignation of Clerk Cherilynn Mynsberge, the appointment of the city’s deputy clerk to serve in her stead, and a call for people to work as election inspectors in the upcoming fall election and during next year’s 2020 presidential election cycle.

But the city is more than able to handle the changes smoothly, without impacting any part of the voting process for residents, according to City Manager Joe Valentine.

“We are grateful to former City Clerk Mynsberge for the strong service she provided to the community and wish her well as she pursues a career change,” Valentine said in an email. “We are confident that new acting Clerk Cheryl Arft, who has served as interim city clerk previously, is very capable of handling the duties of the office.”

Mynsberge turned in her resignation to Valentine Sept. 6, citing a career change and further education as the reason for her departure. Her last day of employment was Sept. 20, just about seven weeks before Birmingham residents are slated to head to the polls to vote for four seats on the City Commission from a pool of eight candidates and the replacement of an expiring general operating millage to support Birmingham Public Schools for up to 18 mills.

“The two and a half years I have worked as Birmingham’s city clerk have been challenging,” Mynsberge stated in her resignation. “My greatest success was developing the part-time positions in the Clerk’s Office to more advanced classifications with corresponding wage increases. The team in place is excellent and well-prepared for the challenges to come.”

While the city seeks a permanent replacement for the clerk, Valentine suggested that the commission appoint Arft to serve. Arft has 23 years of municipal clerk experience, seven of which have been with the city of Birmingham. From November 2016 to April 2017, Arft served as acting clerk while the position was vacant. The commission voted quickly and unanimously to appoint her to the interim seat.

Among Arft’s many duties will be to oversee the Nov. 5 election, for which she’s hoping to hire election inspectors to work during that race and next year’s presidential election cycle, which is expected to have a high voter turnout.

“The right to vote is one of the treasured rights we have as Americans,” Arft said in a prepared statement. “We’d love to have you join us and be part of democracy in action during the upcoming election cycles here in Birmingham.”

Inspectors’ duties can include things like processing voters upon arrival to their polling locations, assisting voters while they cast their ballots, helping to close a precinct when voting is complete and other tasks needed to make the election run smoothly.

Prospective city election inspectors must be at least 16 years old or, if over the age of 18, be a registered voter in the state of Michigan. Candidates must also be able to attend paid election inspector training sessions to get acquainted with policies and technology. Inspectors earn $11 per hour and can expect to work around 17 hours, most of which would be on Election Day.

More information, including a link to apply, can be found on the city’s website, bhamgov.org, or by calling the City Clerk’s Office at (248) 530-1880.

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