New full-time officials sound off about township

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published November 19, 2020


MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Two of the three full-time elected officials on the Macomb Township Board of Trustees are newcomers.

Having been elected to serve a four-year term earlier this month, Supervisor Frank Viviano and Treasurer Leon Drolet both took time to lay out their goals and vision for the township’s future. The new board took office Nov. 20.

Viviano, a graduate of Hillsdale College and University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, most recently spent almost four years working at a Mount Clemens construction company.

“In the process of a career change and negative headlines and becoming more aware of local government, I decided to get involved,” he said.

Viviano, 49, said it’s a big responsibility when folks place their trust in elected officials.

“Earning the public trust is no small thing and should be protected and regarded,” he said. “In all I do, I’ll always put what I believe is the public best interest first.”

He believes the community elected him because of the right background, temperament and skill sets to move the township forward, placing negative headlines in the past.

“They can expect someone who is going to look out for whatever it takes to make the township function better,” he said. “For the township government to function better, I think everybody wins. We are a service and if we can provide good, honest and ethical work on behalf of the township, then the stigma of what has been left to us will start to fade.”

He said his long-term plan for the township is, after four years, “instead of being the butt of everyone’s joke, Macomb Township is the example of what good government can be.”  

In the short term, Viviano wants to change the culture in Town Hall.

“It’s not an easy thing to do, changing the way we interact with each other and on the board,” he said. “We need to speak to each other professionally and honestly, and leave the bickering out of the board room.”

One of the first things Viviano would like to see is to resume live board meetings at Macomb Township Hall.

Since the primary election in August, Viviano, who ran unopposed in the general election, has met with all department heads and some vendors.

“There are so many departments that have very specialized knowledge and there’s going to be a very long learning curve for me,” he said.

Viviano said a fun fact about himself is that he plays hockey twice a week.

Drolet, 53, most recently served as a Macomb County commissioner. He was a state representative from 2000 to 2006.

“Residents’ expectations of me, based on my campaign and past policy priorities, are that I’m going to look to streamline township government,” he said. “I’m going to look to squeeze the most value out of a dollar that I can.”

Drolet said he will work to prioritize essential services and find ways to move as much money as possible into what he calls citizen priorities, what they can touch and see.

“Moving money into road repair or direct services that residents actually see and appreciate,” he said.

When it comes to earning the public’s trust, Drolet believes there’s only one way and that’s demonstrating one will do the right thing.

“The new board has high integrity and I don’t anticipate that being a problem,” he said.

Drolet’s four-year plan for the township is for folks to use the township as a good example of local government.

“I want it to be a model township and considered one with a low tax rate that prioritizes essentials,” he said.

Drolet has already met with the Macomb County finance department and executive’s office, learning that the township qualifies for part of its law enforcement expenses reimbursed from the county to the township using CARES Act funding.

He said for fun he enjoys aquascaping — the craft of arranging aquatic plants within an aquarium.  

The lone incumbent full-time elected official is Clerk Kristi Pozzi.