ALPENA - The Alpena County Board of Commissioners met on Wednesday for its annual organizational meeting. Each year the commissioners get their appointments for committees they will serve on. They also elect a chairman and vice chairman to lead the meetings.
This year there are two new faces on the board, as Bob Adrian and Scot McKenzie took their seats after winning in November's election. Besides their addition to the county board, however, little changed, as Cam Habermehl was selected for another year as the board's chairman and Lyle VanWormer will remain as the vice chair.
Habermehl said this is the seventh year he has been nominated and elected to lead the county board. He said he appreciates the show of support he has received from the other commissioners and anticipates the board will continue to work well together even with the addition of the two new members. He said there are some big things in store for 2013, including continuing to be financially responsible and continuing the pursuit for the development, training and testing of unmanned aircraft at Alpena County Regional Airport.
"The board has been working well together and I expect that to continue with the addition of Bob and Scot," Habermehl said. "I would like to continue to see our budget remain balanced and the airport is a huge thing. We have a lot of interest in it and we have interest in the property, so we need to continue to get that going. I think we are going to start to see businesses move in there this year. I really believe this is going to take off big time this year."
Outside of the appointments to committees, one structural change was made. In years past there have been three commissioners on the finance committee, but this year there will be four. VanWormer and Rich Fortier will continue on the board and Adrian will take the place of former Commissioner Ken Hubbard who stepped down to run for Michigan's 106th District seat. Commissioner Jeff Kowalski, who was not present at the meeting, had been an alternate on the committee, but will now be a regular. Habermehl said the appointments he made were done after careful consideration and it was a goal to keep people seated on committees in which they have previously served.
"We try to keep the people who are already on certain committees on them because they already have the knowledge of what is going on," Habermehl said. "Of course we did have to make some changes with the new people on the board. I tried to give everyone what they wanted, but in some cases we just couldn't. I think it is spread out pretty evenly and everyone should have equal work, because there is enough work to go around. I think this year is going to be extremely busy and a great year."
Mark Hall will continue to be the chairman of the personnel management committee and will work with Commissioners Tom Mullaney and McKenzie. Habermehl named himself as an alternate.
The airport committee, which will be critical in the future development at the airport, will be chaired by Mullaney with Fortier being the other commissioner on the committee. Adrian is the alternate.
Habermehl will be the chairman for the insurance committee with Hall and Adrian filling the other two positions. He also will chair the ambulance committee in which VanWormer, McKenzie and Fortier also sit.
In other business:
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689.