Inside and outside of Oakland

Judges set process for picking new Oakland County clerk

  Oakland County Circuit Court judges settled on a process Tuesday to pick a new county clerk to replace Ruth Johnson, who was elected by voters in the Nov. 2 election as Michigan Secretary of State.

  Interested candidates are asked to submit a letter of interest detailing their qualifications no later than noon Friday, Nov. 19, to Chief Judge Nanci Grant by fax to 248-858-1999 or by hand delivery to Kevin Oeffner, the circuit court administrator, at 1200 N. Telegraph in Pontiac.
  The appointment will be made by the circuit court bench and is effective Jan. 1.
  Grant said the circuit court judges settled on a selection process after meeting Tuesday morning.
  The minimum qualifications is that an applicant be a resident of Oakland County and an eligible voter.
  “If you’re interested, you have until Nov. 19,” Grant said. “We’re going to get this all done hopefully by mid-December so we have someone in place by Jan. 1.”
  Johnson was re-elected as county clerk in the 2008 election so there are two years remaining on her term.
  The county clerk’s position isn’t the only one opening up because of the Nov. 2 election.
White Lake Township Supervisor Mike Kowall’s election to the state Senate means his local office, too, will become vacant when he is sworn in January.
  In Kowall’s case, the White Lake Township board has a couple of options to fill his term, says township Clerk Terry Lilley.
  The options have time limits, which don’t begin until Kowall officially resigns.
  The township board was scheduled to meet Tuesday night. Kowall wasn’t immediately available for comment about when he plans to resign.
  “It isn’t on the agenda,” Lilley said Tuesday about a selecting a replacement for Kowall.
  “The board has the option to select a candidate to fill the vacancy within 45 days,” Lilley said. “I suppose that option could be done a number of ways, by selecting a candidate from the board or asking for resumes.
  “If the board doesn’t appoint within 45 days, either the governor or county clerk could call for an election,” Lilley said.
  The Michigan Townships Association says the White Lake Township board could also designate a successor to Kowall up to 30 days prior to the effective date of his resignation — once Kowall decides when that is — and could establish some sort of replacement process, although the board is not required to do so.
  Contact Charles Crumm at 248-745-4649, charlie.crumm@oakpress.com or follow him on Twitter @crummc and on Facebook.

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