Clerk, trustee races to be dwindled in primary

By: Nick Mordowanec | C&G Newspapers | Published July 1, 2020


CLINTON TOWNSHIP — On Aug. 4, a Democratic clerk candidate will be decided, while the trustee race will be narrowed to eight total candidates.

Democrats Carol Shumard Diehl and Bob Smith are facing off in the Clinton Township Clerk primary, with the winner moving on to November to take on incumbent Republican Clerk Kim Meltzer.

Four Republican trustee candidates — incumbent Joe Aragona, Mike Aiello, Phil Rode and Kenneth Tardie — will automatically advance to the November election.

A total of six Democrats are vying for trustee seats, of whom the top four vote-getters will advance to the November ballot. They are incumbent Mike Keys, incumbent Ken Pearl, incumbent Jenifer “Joie” West, Laura Cardamone, Jarod McGuffey and Tammy Patton.

On June 26, Meltzer said 16,810 absentee ballots had already been issued.

Due to Proposal 3, which passed in November 2018, individuals can register and receive a ballot until 8 p.m. on Election Day. The deadline to request an in-person absentee ballot is 4 p.m. Aug. 3, the Monday before the election. Ballots cannot be mailed past 4 p.m. July 31, the Friday before the election.

Those who register to vote on Aug. 4 can vote by absentee ballot that same day.

Two longtime township presences
Diehl, a graduate of L’Anse Creuse High School, is a 41-year resident of Clinton Township.

She has worked in the Macomb County Clerk’s Office and as part of Friend of the Court, associated with the Macomb County Circuit Court.

At press time, she was laid off after 20 years of working at the 41-B District Court.

She is also a member of Walter F. Bruce VFW Post 1146 in St. Clair Shores, as well as a board member for Daughters of Macomb.

In 2018, she ran for county clerk in what was a 17-person primary — her first foray in politics.

“From my personal experience, I see the need to refine and improve the filing of affidavits and absentee ballots,” she said. “For the first time in Clinton Township history, our clerk was removed from the Freedom of Information (Act) duties. And that could be restored with a new clerk who will gladly follow the strict guidelines and answer to the residents of our community. I’m looking to be the change that the clerk’s office needs now.”

She said she wants to encourage “a meeting of the minds” of Board members, with “no individual political agendas” and keeping “the voices of the citizens of Clinton Township” at the forefront.

“I’m just out there and speak to people,” Diehl said. “If I meet them, I tell them I’m running for clerk. Lots of people are aware that I’m running. And I’ve been quite encouraged.”

Smith is currently in his fourth year as chairman of the Macomb County Board of Commissioners, and 10th year total. Prior to that role, he was one of 26 people responsible for rewriting the Macomb County charter.

“I think I’ve pretty much run the gamut and accomplished pretty much I’ve everything I’ve wanted to accomplish in the Board of Commissioners,” he said.

He worked in the Clinton Township Fire Department for 25 years, including over a dozen years as a fire marshal — a role in which he was responsible for paying attention to codes and ordinances, as well as dealing with union negotiations.

Following his 2011 retirement from CTFD, he attained his law degree from Cooley Law School and has practiced as an attorney the past five years.

He said he “always had my eyes set on the clerk job since back in the day, since I saw Denny Tomlinson running it.”

Smith alluded to his experience with the BOC and the legislative side of government, in addition to record keeping and record retention.

“You’re not just a clerk,” Smith said. “You’re also running the township with the supervisor and treasurer and trustees. You need to know more than just running a good election.”

Along with an online campaign presence at and on Facebook at “Bob Smith for Clinton Township Clerk,” he is relying on mailers and word of mouth.