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Harrison Township board chooses new supervisor

By: Sarah Cormier | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published January 19, 2011

 Ken Verkest is now the new supervisor of Harrison Township. His term will last until
Nov. 28, 2012.

Ken Verkest is now the new supervisor of Harrison Township. His term will last until Nov. 28, 2012.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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HARRISON TOWNSHIP — Looks as though the new year is bringing in new things for Harrison Township.

During the first Harrison Township Board of Trustees meeting of 2011, officials voted 4-2 on Jan. 10 to appoint Ken Verkest as the township’s new supervisor.

Trustees Jack Swiatkowski, Frank Kapral, Larry Tomenello and Verkest all voted in favor. Township Clerk Jan Jorgensen and Township Treasurer Darrin York voted against the measure.

Verkest said he is “excited and honored” to have been granted the appointment.

“I believe that all the pieces are in place for me — the department heads and the employees in the township that take care of the day-to-day operations — and thankfully, for them, I look forward to a smooth transition and the township is in good hands,” he said.

The position is open because current Supervisor Anthony Forlini was elected to be the 24th District state representative. The board had until Feb. 15 to appoint a new supervisor, otherwise the county clerk would have had to hold a special election within five days to get a replacement into place.

A motion to appoint Verkest had been made on Dec. 13; however, the board deadlocked 3-3 because Swiatkowski, who had also applied for the position, voted against the measure.

However, in December, it came to light that Deputy Supervisor Adam Wit, who would have filled in for Forlini, is very sick, and it is uncertain when he will be able to work, making the issue of having a supervisor in the office more pressing.

This caused Swiatkowski on Jan. 10 to withdraw his application and give support to Verkest.

Swiatkowski said with Wit sick and the fact that Verkest already had three others in favor of his appointment, he felt the right thing to do was to give his support to Verkest.

“With everything that’s going on … it was just, we had to do something. There’s nobody there, nobody in the office,” said Swiatkowski. “It was like all right, forget about our individual wants, needs and desires … (and do) what is best for the community.”

York was not pleased with Swiatkowski’s change of mind. He reinforced the thought that the residents should be able to choose a new supervisor through the election process.

“All of these positions are the people’s positions,” he said.

York went on to further say he didn’t believe Verkest was qualified enough for the job.

“I don’t think that anybody would put Mr. Verkest first (as an applicant),” he said. “I just don’t know how this is the right pick.”

Verkest has three daughters — 19, 17 and 12 years old. He has been married for 20 years and owns his own drafting company, Verkest Engineering. His term will last until Nov. 28, 2012.

The board now has to pick someone to fill Verkest’s open spot as trustee. That process is expected to start at the next Board of Trustees meeting on Jan. 24.

“I think everything will work out,” said Swiatkowski. “We’ll get another trustee appointed hopefully soon and get back to full board status and get going.”

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