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

Seven county commissioners elected to Legislature





Seven county commissioners will soon move their public service from the courthouse to the Statehouse, thanks to decisions of Michigan voters Tuesday night.

The representatives-elect are:

Grand Traverse County Commissioner Larry Inman will represent the 104th District.





Kalamazoo County Commissioner Dave Maturen will represent the 63rd District.

Kalamazoo County Commissioner Brandt Iden will represent the 61st District.

Monroe County Commissioner Jason M. Sheppard will represent the 56th District.

Oakland County Commissioner Jim Runestad will represent the 44th District.





Oakland County Commissioner Kathy Crawford will represent the 38th District.

Wayne County Commissioner Laura Cox will represent the 19th District.

All seven will serve in the now-enlarged ranks of the Republican caucus in the Michigan House of Representatives. MAC looks forward to working with them on key state policy issues affecting counties,



ranging from unfunded mandates to sentencing guidelines to transportation reform.

MLive series: voters vs. tax capture

Mlive continues its series on the use of tax increment financing in Michigan by telling the story of voters’ will thwarted in Ingham County:

“Ingham County voters have approved countywide millages for things like the Potter Park Zoo, 911 operation and health care services. What those voters may not know is that 5.5 percent of the money they approved was actually captured for other purposes.”

MAC’s Campbell warns state on court funding crisis

In a guest commentary Sept. 5 on, MAC’s incoming president, Allegan County Commissioner Jon Campbell, issues an alert to Michigan residents about the court funding crisis created by the Cunningham ruling:

“Legislators will have a full agenda in September; however, a permanent, stable, fair fix to court funding has to be at the top of the list.”

The chart below shows the annual projected impact of the ruling, if it is not changed, for several counties across the state that responded to a MAC survey.

court cost chart*Circuit court costs only



County commissioners win legislative nominations

courtesy/Macomb County

courtesy/Macomb County

An array of county commissioners found favor with the voters in their bids to become members of the next Michigan Legislature. Among notable races tracked by MAC:

19th House District: Laura Cox of Wayne County won the Republican nomination easily and will face Stacey Dogonski in the general election.

38th House District: Kathy Crawford of Oakland County won the Republican nomination and will face Jason Catanzaro in the fall.

44th House District: Jim Runestad of Oakland County won the GOP nod in a closely watched race and will face Mark Venie in the fall.

56th House District: Jason Sheppard of Monroe County won the Republican nomination and will face Tom Redmond in the general.

61st House District: Brandt Iden of Kalamazoo County won the Republican nomination and will face John Fisher in the general election.

62nd House District: Terris Todd of Calhoun County won a squeaker for the Democratic nomination and will face John Bizon in the general.

63rd House District: Dave Maturen of Kalamazoo County won the Republican nod in this district that spreads across Kalamazoo and Calhoun counties.

104th House District: Larry Inman of Grand Traverse County emerged with a narrow victory from an eight-candidate GOP field to advance to the general election.