Chesterfield Township voters will soon elect a new board of trustees.
All seven board seats — supervisor, clerk, treasurer and four trustee seats — are up for election this fall. The Nov. 3 ballot will ask voters to select four of eight candidates vying for a trustee spot.
Four incumbent Republican trustees — Hank Anderson, Brian Scott DeMuynck, David M. Joseph and Kathy D. Vosburg — are seeking reelection against Democrats Shawn Elliott, John Grivas, Linda Hartman and Michelle Merriwether.
Elected officials’ salaries follow a percentage increase each year of their union contract. The 2020 salary for a trustee is $11,175.58, plus a stipend of $125 per township board meeting and assigned commission meeting.
The Voice sent questionnaires to all eight candidates, asking them to provide biographical information, as well as answer two questions, with each response limited to 50 words. The following responses were received. Some responses have been edited for length.
Meet the candidates for trustee
• THE VOICE: Please write a short biography of yourself.
– ANDERSON: Retired Detroit police officer; township resident since September 1988; bachelors/master’s degrees – Wayne State University; assistant principal – Anchor Bay High, 21 years. Township board trustee since November 2012. Board liaison to township’s police and historical society; former township police and fire advisor, board member and chairperson.
– DEMUYNCK: Sixty-two; lifelong resident; De La Salle HS; MCC, 43-year law enforcement career. FBI Washington, D.C., fingerprint examiner, Macomb County Sheriff’s Office deputy sheriff, Sterling Heights PD criminal investigations assistant. Chesterfield Township trustee 2004-present; liaison, parks/rec and leisure services, and library board. FOP Lodge 187. Owner/partner JL&S properties. One adult son.
– ELLIOTT: My name is Shawn Elliott and I have lived in the Anchor Bay School District for the past 17 years. I am a business and technology teacher and former college instructor. I am married with kids. We volunteer in the community and I lead the ABFC and AYSO VIP Soccer.
– GRIVAS: I’ve lived in Chesterfield and have been a member of the community for 42 years. My three children graduated from Anchor Bay Schools. I served as a trustee from 2004 to 2008. Prior to that, I served as a union steward and recording secretary for the United Steelworkers of America.
– HARTMAN: I’m a 43-year resident; raised six sons, graduates of ABHS. Served 13 years as treasurer and trustee. Involved in the community: Chesterfield Library Board secretary, Anchor Bay Chamber ambassador, Chesterfield Historical Society trustee/treasurer VFW Post 7573 Ladies Auxiliary, Friends of Chesterfield Police, DAR. Served on planning commission and zoning board.
– JOSEPH: My wife Christine and I moved into the township nearly 30 years ago. We’ve raised two incredible daughters, both graduates of our beloved L’Anse Creuse district. Our family belongs to St. Mary Queen of Creation. We are proud members of the Huron Pointe Sportsmen Club and many other community organizations.
– MERRIWETHER: A Chesterfield Township resident for 17 years, I own Mogul Mindset LLC Consulting. I have 20 years’ experience as senior executive of numerous Fortune 100 corporations in the health sciences and energy space. Possessing a BS degree, I have spent time on Capitol Hill educating Congress on needs of entrepreneurs.
– VOSBURG: We have owned the same home in Chesterfield since 1975. Income tax consultant since 1981, County commissioner 14 years, township trustee the past four years. Member of Chesterfield Historical Society, Anchor Bay Rotary, chair of Macomb County Community Mental Health Board and member of Northside Church.
• THE VOICE: What do you see as the biggest issue facing the township, and if elected, how would you address it?
– ANDERSON: The supervisor and his three loyal board members have consistently transferred hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars into projects of minimum benefit to most residents. Township management employees have increased under this team. The new board must refocus on repairs and maintenance to the 30-plus neglected township holdings.
– DEMUYNCK: Funding and what cuts are we receiving from the state level. We have maintained a well-balanced budget over the last four years and have successfully completed several large projects. An important issue is developing the NW portion of the township and bringing water and sewer to those areas.
– ELLIOTT: The board isn’t made up of one person; it’s a team of individuals working for the greater good. I can provide different perspectives that are lacking. Chesterfield has many resources and is a great community to live in. The biggest issues facing the township are growth, conservation and infrastructure.
– GRIVAS: My biggest issue is the safety of the residents of Chesterfield. As population grows, I want to make sure that we have the services to support it. I want to ensure that our police and firefighters have the resources that they need. I also want to see more street lights.
– HARTMAN: One of the biggest issues is good growth/development, also street lighting/recreation. I will update ordinances that are outdated and no longer useful. Make the necessary repairs to our township buildings/grounds/parks and parking lots, ensure the completion of the Brandenburg shoreline restoration and non-motorized paths, complete Veterans Memorial Park.
– JOSEPH: COVID-19 has negatively impacted so many aspects of our life. Experts predict economic hardship for years to come — our township will not be immune. I’ll work to weather the storm by making certain we live within our means without defunding our public safety department or increasing water rates.
– MERRIWETHER: The primary issues center around economic development, public safety, infrastructure, new parks/recreation, housing, energy/environment, demographics, diversity and inclusiveness, healthcare and youth-focused programming. I plan to address each through meeting with community influencers, citizen regular town halls and/or virtual meetings and partnership with community agencies to aid with addressing each.
– VOSBURG: Adapting to change. Because of COVID-19 restrictions and residential growth our community faces new ways for shopping, recreations, education and social gathering. It takes leadership to make a difference. My experience and relationships with community leaders and legislators at various levels of government provide resources our community needs to adapt.
• THE VOICE: If elected, what particular areas/issues would you most like to work on while in office?
– ANDERSON: Draining public coffers for amusement properties during these uncertain times of pandemic, job losses and foreclosures is highly problematic. As board members we must ensure that public safety and the delivery of township services are maintained. Tax dollars should not be used to benefit the private developer.
– DEMUYNCK: I’ll continue to support the public safety department; we are working on adding two officers and a traffic safety bureau. I am a proponent of parks and rec and will work to make parks and nature areas more enjoyable. I want this board to work together and put residents first.
– ELLIOTT: If elected, I’d be open to work in an area that is needed. I enjoy working and volunteering in our community towards common goals in a positive way. Working together as a team is the key to positive progress.
– GRIVAS: I would work with other elected officials and department heads in the township to determine what initiatives would best serve the community. I would like to work toward making Chesterfield a more business-friendly area and craft policies to help the township’s economic growth.
– HARTMAN: I’ll vote for proposals that are in the best interest of our township and improve services in order to be efficient while keeping taxes reasonable, support public safety with proper staffing, equipment/training resources; communicating and maintaining transparency is important to provide residents with audible, unedited video coverage of township boards/commissions.
– JOSEPH: Intelligent professionally managed development that enhances residents’ quality of life without unnecessary traffic, depletion of township services, or weakening our infrastructure is a difficult task. Performed properly, intelligent growth can provide revenue for a much-needed senior and youth center without raising taxes. I intend to make this a high priority.
– MERRIWETHER: The primary issues facing the township based upon my conversations with residents include: new parks and recreations, taxation, utilities regulation, public safety partnership within the community and transparency in government.
– VOSBURG: Continued improvements for leisure activities for all ages. Additional public access to our waterways for kayaking and fishing; parks and pathways with additional open space for nature walks and non-motorized activities; additional meeting and exercise space for senior citizens; easier access with less traffic congestion to retail businesses for shopping.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.
There are 19 voting precincts in Chesterfield Township. A full list of precincts can be found on the township’s website at chesterfieldtwp.org.
Registered voters can request an absentee ballot online before Oct. 30. To avoid possible postal delays, state officials recommend requesting an absentee ballot in person and hand delivering completed ballots after Oct. 19.
Registered voters can track their ballots by looking up their information on the Michigan Voter Information Center at michigan.gov/vote.
Katelyn Larese is a Local News Editor at The Voice. She can be contacted at 586-273-6196 or [email protected].