Harrison Township clerk, treasurer to be chosen in August primary

By: Nick Mordowanec | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published July 1, 2020


HARRISON TOWNSHIP — On Aug. 4, Harrison Township voters will decide the future of both the Clerk’s Office and the Treasurer’s Office.

Incumbent Clerk Adam Wit and incumbent Treasurer Darrin York, both Republicans, will face Republican challengers in Lisa Sinclair and Larry Tomenello, respectively.

Township Supervisor Ken Verkest will serve another four-year term in the same position, as he is running unopposed this year.

Three Democratic trustee candidates — C. William Bardill, Loreen Dennis and Rhonda Warner — will automatically move on to the November election.

A total of 11 Republicans are vying for trustee seats, of whom the top four vote-getters will advance to the November ballot. They are Brian Batkins, Keith Beals, David Bratto, Zachary Eineman, Nicholas Holmes, Dean Olgiati, Paula Rose, Marshall Rosquin, James Senstock, Bill Servial and Nicole Ward.

As of June 24, Wit said 5,392 absentee ballots had been issued, already exceeding the total amount of voters in the primary election of 2016.

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.

Familiar faces
Wit was first elected to the same position in 2012, when he received about 70% of the vote.

He has a master’s degree in public administration, serves as the third vice president of the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks and is involved with the Bureau of Elections for training clerks across the state.

A past president of Macomb County Habitat for Humanity, he said being involved in the community “is already its own sort of campaigning.” He has also sent out mailers and advertised in news publications.

“You’re always a little nervous about it, but in my time, I’ve been doing a good job running elections, making the township more open with streaming and upgrades with board meetings,” Wit said. “We’ve made important investments with infrastructure in the community and brought it new grant money — a quarter million for roads the last year alone.”

He also touted delivering secure and reliable elections, enhancing police and fire services, making government more accountable with new technology, and expanding passport services.

More information can be found at adamwit.com.

Sinclair has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Michigan State University. She worked in the Michigan House of Representatives and Senate as a legislative aide for about 12 years. She became a Registered Nurse in 2016, working as an emergency nurse. She recently became a psychiatric nurse.

In November 2018, she ran against Democrat Fred Miller for a temporary two-year term in the Macomb County Clerk’s Office race, losing by approximately three points. She conducted door-to-door campaigning that election, she said, and is doing the same thing now — in addition to communicating with residents via Facebook community groups.

Sinclair said being the clerk is “all about customer service.” She is running on improving services by making them more connected, including introducing a 24-7 online user-friendly message board to share township news and spur civil discussion among neighbors.

“As a clerk, we run the elections and everyone should be encouraged to vote, to know their vote counts,” she said. “And they should be aware of proposals on the ballot.”

For more information, visit the “Lisa Sinclair for Harrison Township Clerk” Facebook page.

Tomenello, who has a bachelor’s degree in business administration, is currently serving his third term as a trustee. He received the most votes of any trustee candidate in the 2008 election. He has also been on the Township Planning Commission since 1999.

After 45 years of employment, including 23 of them as an information technology manager leading data services and infrastructure, he is retiring this fall and “ready to move to a full-time position to make a difference.”

His campaign slogan, “It’s time for a change,” translates to streamlining electronic billing and payments in the Treasurer’s Office, by way of PayPal, credit card processing and direct deposit.

In addition to taking care of residents’ taxes and other financial issues, he alluded to cable services for residents — specifically, upgrading equipment over 16 years old at City Hall.

“I want to be prepared for that and make sure we have the technology in place to make sure our customers can watch and interact and get quality service,” he said.

If elected, Tomenello said that working different investments and being advantageous — such as getting the best interest rates that make a difference on the bottom line — are ways to positively affect fund balances.

“We need to make sure we invest wisely and intelligently, and make sure we make every baseless point or dollar we can of interest on our general funds,” he said.

For more information on Tomenello, visit Facebook, under “Larry Tomenello for Treasurer.”

York was first elected as treasurer in 2004. Previously an account executive, he has an economics and management degree, with an accounting minor, from Albion College. He has multiple designations, including being a Michigan Certified Professional Treasurer, Certified Public Funds Investment Manager and a Certified Public Finance Administrator

York is not a proponent of tax increases or fee increases. He called board-initiated special assessments “a forced tax on the people.” He has supported and voted for citizen-led special assessments.

He stated that he revamped the online billing system for the township back in 2005.

“I already streamlined the office,” York said. “There’s nothing left to streamline. I’ve already done it.

“My education and experience are more well suited to running the treasurer’s office,” York said. “I will protect the money.”

York will campaign in person and via mailers.