Incumbent clerk faces challenge from school board member

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published May 4, 2016

 Kim Meltzer

Kim Meltzer

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Incumbent Kim Meltzer will face off against challenger George Sobah for the Clinton Township clerk position when voters hit the polls Aug. 2.

Sobah, a 20-year resident of Clinton Township and retired police lieutenant of the St. Clair Shores Police Department, currently serves as secretary on the Chippewa Valley Schools Board of Education — a board he has been part of in different capacities for the past 16 years.

He said he is running to see a change in how the clerk’s office is run, briefly citing a few different points.

“One of the things is I’m going to favor straight-ticket voting that they just got rid of,” said Sobah, a Democrat. “I want to work more with some of the handicap polling stations, do something to help to speed up lines of people waiting. I’d like to lobby for absentee voting.

“I think voting is a right and want to make it as easy as possible for people to vote.”

Meltzer, a Republican, said her office has made great strides, working together as a team of women and updating ordinances that are more than 50 years old. She also mentioned aggressive passport processing — a large revenue maker resulting in more than $130,000 annually — along with implementing new Freedom of Information Act laws, which she said is a complex process.

The office has updated records through the use of technological advances.

“It’s a huge undertaking to implement the records management process, but on top of that is moving those documents, looking at each box, looking at inventory and seeing which ones we need and what needs to be destroyed,” Meltzer said. “We’re becoming much more efficient under my leadership.”

Meltzer, who said she only knows of Sobah due to his police history, countered her opponent’s words on handicapped-accessible polling stations.

“I secured a $9,600 grant for brand new handicap booths at every precinct,” she said. “I already accomplished what he wants to get done.”

As for straight-ticket voting, she said voters still have to fill in ovals and it helps keep the public more accountable as voters.

When asked if his running is a rebuke of Meltzer’s job as clerk, Sobah said that was partly true.

He said he wasn’t a fan of her when she served two terms in the state House of Representatives, prior to becoming clerk in 2012. 

Sobah, 53, is hosting fundraisers and knocking on doors to campaign.

“I’m not really a fan of the current clerk and the way she does business, but I also think there are new and better ideas out there,” Sobah said.

Meltzer works closely with the Clinton River Watershed Council, encouraging green infrastructure within the township. She has also pushed the Michigan.gov/vote campaign to make voting easier and faster, which is part of her campaign effort.

“I really enjoy the position,” she said. “I hope the public sees the work I put into it and my sincerity. This is America, people have a right to run for office and I support that. But I’ve done a lot of great things to this office, brought integrity back to this office after the previous administration gave a black eye to the township.”

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