Conference draws more than 300 to Mackinac Island; President Kuyers urges unity
More than 300 county leaders from across Michigan converged on Mackinac Island this week for the 2021 Michigan Counties Annual Conference, which culminated with the swearing in of Ottawa Commissioner Phil Kuyers as MAC Board president.
The conference, which was held at the Grand Hotel Sept. 26-28, featured plenary sessions, policy breakouts and the MAC Annual Business Meeting, where commissioners approved policy platforms for the 2021-22 year.
Kuyers, who is starting his third term on the MAC Board, is the 113th person to hold the president’s position.
In his speech after taking the oath on Monday, Sept. 27, Kuyers pledged to “raise up MAC as an example of unity, of bipartisanship, of civility and of common sense” in a time of controversy and high passions.
“You are here tonight and at this conference because you believe in the value of MAC. I urge you to lean on this organization like you never have before. Our comfort zone is gone, another victim of the pandemic. Expectations of county government are rising on new fronts from broadband service to affordable housing,” Kuyers continued. “MAC stands ready to help each of you, and your colleagues who are not here tonight, with navigating these new issues. But we must work together.”
Keynote addresses at the event included presentations by Deputy State Budget Director Bethany Wicksall and Dave Lorenz, who leads the highly popular Pure Michigan travel campaign.
Kuyers will lead a board that gained one new member via elections held at the conference: Melissa Daub of Wayne County. She will fill one of the three at-large seats on the MAC Board of Directors.
As the conference closed, the MAC Board confirmed officers for the 2021-22 term. Joining Kuyers are Stan Ponstein of Kent County (first vice president) and Eileen Kowall of Oakland County (second vice president). Veronica Klinefelt of Macomb County moves to the role of immediate past president.
“We were pleased with the attendance at our first in-person conference in two years,” said Stephan W. Currie, MAC’s executive director. “It speaks to the quality of the policy breakouts and keynote presentations that more than 300 county leaders set aside the time to join us.”
Governor calls mask-budget links unconstitutional in budget message
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the FY22 state budget this week, but only after a few line-item vetoes and deeming certain boilerplate provisions unconstitutional and unenforceable.
The budget presented to the governor included language that “unappropriated” funding of local public health departments if a heath officer has an emergency order in place authorized under the Public Health Code- unless a county board of commission votes to support the order.
In a letter to lawmakers, the governor stated that penalizing local health departments for using their power given to them by the Public Health Code violates the Michigan Constitution. The letter cites both Article 3, section 2 and Article 4, section 25, which provide for separation of powers and no act is to be amended by reference, respectively.
U.S. Treasury resets key deadline on ARP reporting
The U.S. Treasury has revised its timeline for counties to submit their Project and Expenditure Reports for the Fiscal Recovery Fund.
Treasury has set aside the original deadline of Oct. 31, 2021, citing comments and feedback gathered during the Interim Report and Recovery Plan Performance Report process.
The Project and Expenditure Reports will now be due on Jan. 31, 2022, and will cover the period between award date and Dec. 31, 2021. Further instructions will be provided at a later date, including updates to existing guidance as well as a user guide to assist recipients to gather and submit the information through Treasury’s Portal.
Please visit the Treasury’s website at www.Treasury.gov/SLFRPReporting for the latest information.
Presentations from 2021 Annual Conference now available
Presentation slides from all of the plenary sessions and MAC policy breakouts at the 2021 Annual Conference are now available on the MAC website.
Among the highlights are:
- A breakdown of the state budget process by Deputy State Budget Director Bethany Wicksall
- The MAC Legislative Update
- A primer on Michigan’s voting process by Ottawa County Clerk Justin Roebuck
- Research studies on the problems with, and potential solutions for, Michigan’s local taxation system
Also on the conference page, you will find Facebook videos of three of the breakout sessions.
Check out the 2021 Annual Conference photo gallery
As is always the case when MAC and MCMCFC visit Mackinac Island, there are plenty of photo opportunities – and MAC’s conference photographer, Rod Sanford, captured them.
To see yourself and others, just visit our online gallery.
And this year, MAC is doing something special: If you would like to have a high-resolution version of a gallery photo that is suitable for printing and framing, just make a donation to MACPAC of $10 or more and send the photo ID number to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you the digital file for printing.
Daub joins MAC Board after regional caucuses; 4 incumbents re-elected
During regional caucuses held at the Michigan Counties Annual Conference Sept. 26-28, MAC members re-elected four incumbents and selected a new at-large director for the MAC Board of Directors.
Melissa Daub of Wayne County fills the vacancy created when Kalamazoo Commissioner Julie Rogers was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 2020.
“Upon taking office, I immediately became involved with the Michigan Association of Counties to share ideas with my colleagues across the state, as well as the work we’re doing in Wayne County,” said Daub. “Today, I’m proud to be named an at-large member for the MAC Board of Directors and to be continuing my focus on transportation needs in my home county and across the state, as well as tackling the many other shared issues we see at the county level.”
Daub was first elected to the Wayne County Commission in 2018. She represents District 10, which includes Canton Township, Plymouth Township and the City of Plymouth. A proud graduate of Plymouth-Canton High School, Commissioner Daub holds a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Michigan University.
Incumbent board members were returned to the Board from MAC’s Regions 1, 2, 3 and 5.
President Phil Kuyers of Ottawa County will be starting his third term on the board from Region 2 (Southwest Michigan).
Joe Stevens of Dickinson (Region 1 – Upper Peninsula) and Christian Marcus of Antrim (Region 2 – Northwest Michigan) also were elected to third terms. Eileen Kowall of Oakland (Region 5, Southeast Michigan) was elected to her second term and to serve as second vice president of the Board.
Board members can serve a maximum of three 3-year terms.
Policy survey invitation heading to county leaders next week
An invitation to participate in the next wave of the Michigan Public Policy Survey (MPPS) is coming next week to your mailbox.
The MPPS is a statewide survey of local government officials conducted since 2009 by the University of Michigan’s Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) and co-sponsored by MAC.
On Monday, Oct. 4, you will receive an email link to the new MPPS questionnaire, which asks about issues in your county related to materials management, waste collection, and recycling.
The MPPS studies don’t just end up on someone’s shelf—they are used by legislators, the media, the public, and government officials to better understand what local leaders like you feel is important, right now. Your participation is crucial to the success of the MPPS program.
Reports and data from previous MPPS surveys can be found on the MPPS website: http://mpps.umich.edu.
If you have questions about this research study, contact Dr. Debra Horner, CLOSUP, University of Michigan, 5309 Weill Hall, 735 S. State St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109, 734-615-5315 or email@example.com.
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- Fishtown shanty soared through the air and back home (Interlochen Public Radio)