Three candidates, including one newcomer, elected to Fraser City Council

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published November 5, 2019

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FRASER — Until at least 2021, Fraser residents will get used to the same seven Fraser City Council members.

On Nov. 5, residents chose three out of four candidates to serve four-year terms, until 2023, on the City Council. Newcomer Amy Baranski topped the vote list, tallying nearly 2,000 votes, or 30%. Incumbents Patrice Schornak and Kathy Blanke received 26% and 23.8% of the vote, respectively.

The three women will serve alongside current City Council members Michael Lesich, David Winowiecki and Suzanne Kalka.

Former Fraser City Manager Richard Haberman failed to make the cut, falling short to Blanke by 244 votes. Fraser Mayor Mike Carnagie ran unopposed and will lead the council for another four years.

Baranski called it “a great privilege” to have been voted in, and she plans to “hit the ground running.” The election was a referendum of sorts, she said, adding that the way the city conducted business in the past is “no longer acceptable.”

“The citizens expect accountability, and I promise to deliver on that expectation,” Baranski said. “I took nothing for granted with this election. I was honest and open with every step of my campaign. A grassroots effort that started with truly being connected and engaged in the city helped voters decide who should be in council for the next four years.”

She continued, “I believe this election ensures that council will now be in a position to move the city forward without negativity or delay. The combined expertise of the incoming council, along with the professionalism of each member, will ensure that the city not only survives, but prospers.”

A total of 2,662 votes were tallied in the city’s seven polling precincts. Precinct 6, at the Fraser Activity Center, saw the most voters at 566. It was a 24% voter turnout overall, ranking ninth among Macomb County municipalities.

Schornak said she wasn’t surprised by the turnout, expecting it to be low.

“I hope that we can continue to move the city forward and that more of my fellow citizens will want to get involved in making Fraser the best place to live,” she said.

Blanke said numerous members of the council have a history in the city and are being entrusted to use finances wisely as a means of advancing the city. She called it “one of the most balanced councils we’ve had in a long time.”

This is her third term on council, first being elected in 2009. Plenty has changed in 10 years, from residents twice voting down public safety millages, the outsourcing of emergency dispatchers, and fewer overall public safety officials.

The key, she added, is for council members to refrain from having an agenda.

“It’s refreshing to be working with individuals who, for the most part, we’re all on the same page,” Blanke said. “We survived this election, and I think it’s a good indication the community wasn’t that outraged with the mill increase, so I took this as a stamp of approval to move forward.”

Haberman left his role as Fraser’s city manager in January 2017 as part of a severance agreement. He had been in his role since June 2010. Now, he plans to have a quiet life away from politics.

“After walking about 120 miles passing out literature and talking to people, I am glad I gave it a shot,” he said. “Now I can return to retirement with a good conscience knowing I gave it my best.”

Also, Tina Bullis and Kyle Burley were each awarded six-year terms on the Fraser Public Library board. They were the only two on the ballot in that category.

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