Bierlein becomes MAC’s 110th president; 3 newcomers elected to MAC Board

Tuscola County's Matthew Bierlein is sworn in by Judge Amy Gierhart as his wife, Mindy, and children look on. (Rod Sanford Photography)

Tuscola County’s Matthew Bierlein is sworn in by Judge Amy Gierhart as his wife, Mindy, and children look on. (Rod Sanford Photography)

The Michigan Association of Counties (MAC) elected board officers for its 2017-18 term and added two new board members at the MAC Annual Conference, held Sept. 24-26 at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.

Matthew Bierlein, a Tuscola County commissioner, was sworn in as MAC’s 110th president since the organization’s founding on Feb. 1, 1898. During his first address as president to the association, Bierlein called for greater engagement with all of Michigan’s 622 county commissioners.

Joining Bierlein on the board’s executive team are: First Vice President Ken Borton, an Otsego County commissioner; Second Vice President Veronica Klinefelt of Macomb County; and Immediate Past President Shelley Taub, an Oakland County commissioner.

“Our new leadership team brings a great variety of skills and experiences to our board,” said Stephan W. Currie, MAC’s executive director. “We have a great team in place as we begin to implement our strategic plan adopted by the board at the Annual Conference.”

In board elections held at the conference, MAC members in attendance elected three new board members:

  • Joe Bonovetz of Gogebic County
  • Richard Schmidt of Manistee County
  • Jim Storey of Allegan County

Also serving as directors on the board for the 2017-18 term are:

  • Donald Disselkoen (Ottawa County)
  • Philip Kuyers (Ottawa County)
  • Christian Marcus (Antrim County)
  • Joseph Palamara (Wayne County)
  • Robert Showers (Clinton County)
  • Joe Stevens (Dickinson County)
  • Hugh Crawford (Oakland County)
  • Vaughn Begick (Bay County)
  • Stan Ponstein (Kent County)

For more information on MAC, visit www.micounties.org.

Allegan County wins top national award for digital practices

Mark DeYoung (second from left) and Jon Campbell (second from right) accept Allegan County's first place award in the 2015 Digital Survey Awards. (courtesy photo)

Mark DeYoung (second from left) and Jon Campbell (second from right) accept Allegan County’s first place award in the 2015 Digital Survey Awards. (courtesy photo)

Allegan County Board of Commissioners Chairman Mark DeYoung and fellow Allegan Commissioner Jon Campbell were presented the first place award in the Center for Digital Government’s 2015 Digital Survey Awards at the National Association of Counties’ Annual Conference this week.

Allegan, which won in the under 150,000 population category, was honored for offering 27 different online services, including its online GIS Data Library, which citizens and customers can download at no cost. Judges also made note of the county’s Connect with Us social media portal and its collaboration with Kent and Ottawa counties on procurement. “This solution and the consortium created by these three counties serve as a model for other municipalities across the state of Michigan,” the judges wrote.

Commissioner Don Disselkoen accepts Ottawa County's digital award at the NACo Annual Conference in North Carolina. (courtesy photo)

Commissioner Don Disselkoen accepts Ottawa County’s digital award at the NACo Annual Conference in North Carolina. (courtesy photo)

Campbell also serves as president of the MAC Board of Directors.

Several other Michigan counties received honors at the event.

Oakland County won third place in the over 500,000 category for its suite of programs, including a countywide social media strategy, its G2G (Government to Government) Marketplace.

Commissioner Don Disselkoen of Ottawa County, also a MAC Board member, was on hand to pick up his county’s sixth place award in the 250,000 to 449,999 category.

Jackson County Commissioner Sarah Lightner poses with her county's award. (courtesy photo)

Jackson County Commissioner Sarah Lightner poses with her county’s award. (courtesy photo)

Jackson County Commissioner Sarah Lightner accepted her county’s 10th place award in the 150,000 to 249,999 category. Berrien County received fifth place in the same population category.

The 2015 Digital Counties Survey, conducted by e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government, highlights counties across the country that are digital leaders. Established in 1984, e.Republic is the nation’s only media and research company focused exclusively on state and local government and education.

“This is an outstanding example of how Michigan counties are using innovation and technology to protect and enhance public services in tight budgetary times,” said Tim McGuire, executive director of MAC. “As these results show, counties of any size can find new ways to help their residents.”

Six counties win grants from state for cooperative work

Six counties — Eaton, Mecosta, Oakland, Oceana, Ottawa and St. Clair — are among local governments landing funds via the “Competitive Grant Assistance Program” for work they are doing on “mergers, consolidations, interlocal agreements and cooperative efforts,” the Treasury Department announced Tuesday.

All together, the six counties will receive about $4.5 million.

Oakland will receive the lion’s share of that sum, $3.8 million for “collaboration by three counties to form the Great Lakes Water Authority” to fix and upgrade the Detroit water system.

The amounts and purposes for the other awards are:

  • Eaton, $10,0001, for collaboration by area communities to determine the feasibility of shared recycling services.
  • Mecosta, $601,641, for consolidation of morgue services with Newaygo County.
  • Oceana, $13,750, for collaboration by area communities to determine the feasibility of shared fire services.
  • Ottawa, $31,588, for consolidation of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office with the Village of Spring Lake/City of Ferrysburg Police Department.
  • St. Clair, $10,500, for collaboration with Sanilac County to determine the feasibility of shared public health services.

For more information on the program, visit its official Web page.

 

Michigan counties gain national notice for digital prowess

Ottawa Co screen grabSix Michigan counties were honored recently in the 2014 Digital Counties Survey sponsored by the National Association of Counties and the Center for Digital Government.

Oakland County was Michigan’s highest finisher after achieving 4th Place in the categories of counties with 500,000 residents or more. Also honored were Allegan, Berrien, Eaton, Jackson and Ottawa counties.

“Counties across the country are using technology to enhance services, maximize efficiency and save money,” said NACo Executive Director Matthew D. Chase in statement announcing the awards. “The Digital Counties Survey recognizes counties’ best practices and effective uses of technology to better serve their communities.”

500,000 or more residents
Oakland County, 4th
Site: http://www.oakgov.com/Pages/home.aspx

250,000 to 499,999
Ottawa County, 7th
Site: https://www.miottawa.org/

150,000 to 249,999
Berrien County, 6th
Site: http://www.berriencounty.org/
Jackson County, 8th
Site: http://www.mygovhelp.org/JACKSONCOUNTYMI/_cs/SupportHome.aspx

Up to 150,000
Eaton County, 8th
Site: http://www.eatoncounty.org/
Allegan County, 9th
Site: http://www.allegancounty.org/