Moving forward in Scio Township
A swearing-in ceremony on November 20, 2020, marked the start to a new Scio Township Board.
The new board will have three returning after being re-elected and four new faces, including a new township supervisor.
In the Nov. 3 election, those re-elected were township clerk Jessica Flintoft, township treasurer Donna Palmer and board trustee Kathleen Knol. The newly elected are trustees Jackie Courteau, Alec Jerome and Jane Vogel while Will Hathaway is the new supervisor.
The swearing-in ceremony was held virtually that Friday morning at 10 a.m. via Zoom.
In the announcement of the ceremony, Scio officials said they were honored to have Scio resident and Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack administer the oaths of office.
The Sun Times News followed up with Hathaway to get some insight into the township moving forward.
Sun Times News (STN): What are your goals moving forward?
Hathaway: “Our general goals are to continue delivering excellent basic services, promote economic development and to plan for the Township’s future in a manner that is environmentally sustainable. I am committed to recruiting and nominating a capable and diverse group of residents to serve on the Township’s boards and commissions. We rely on the volunteers who serve on the various advisory boards to help formulate the Township’s policies and provide services. I look forward to working closely with the Township’s employees and learning how I can support them in delivering services to the Township. The incoming board of trustees is inheriting a well-run operation and many thoughtfully formulated policies and plans, including capital improvements such as the renovation of the fire station and other infrastructure improvements. I anticipate building on this strong legacy.”
STN: What would you like township residents to know about you and the new board?
Hathaway: “Like our predecessors, the new board of trustees brings a wealth of varied knowledge and skills. We are excited to form a leadership team that works well for all Scio Township residents. Several of us labored to get the parks and pathways millage on the ballot. We were gratified that 73 percent of Township voters supported the millage in the August election. We will use those funds to create access to nature preserves and to extend a network of pathways for people to move safely throughout the Township without relying on motorized transportation. We see opportunities to build on Scio’s tradition of environmentally sensitive planning to make our community a leader in sustainable economic development.”
STN: Are there any specific issues before you the township will need to address sooner rather than later?
Hathaway: “We face an immediate decision about how to proceed with the Gelman dioxane clean-up. The Gelman “plume” has been spreading since it was first discovered in 1984. Since 2017, the Township has been pursuing remediation of the dioxane pollution through a court process. We now face a decision about whether to approve the attorney-negotiated consent judgment (CJ). The prior board of trustees wrestled with this and narrowly approved the CJ with an amendment. In my view, the proposed CJ is still not an adequate plan for dealing with the groundwater contamination. The incoming board may decide to make further amendments to the CJ, or it may decide to reject it entirely. We will need to move quickly.
The board of trustees will also need to address the vacancy at township manager. The Township has been without a manager for over a year. We will be discussing how to fill that role on an interim basis while we work on a long-term solution.”