2016-11-10 / Front Page

The votes are in

810-452-2652 • lrocha@mihomepaper.com

It was an historic election that, nationally, drew crowds larger than election officials had seen in decades.

While most of the attention focused on the presidential race, voters had some tough local decisions to make, as well.

Here are the results of Swartz Creek-area contests:


The Swartz Creek Community Schools Board of Education race was arguably the most contested local battle in the 2016 election with two available seats and three candidates, one of whom is the sitting board president.

In the end, the voters elected incumbent Carrie Germain and newcomer Tony Paul who tallied 5,573 and 5,459 votes, respectively. Challenger Karen Green received 5,156 votes. Jentery M. Farmer, who was not actively campaigning after announcing in late September that he no longer wished to be elected, acquired 2,207 votes.

School board Treasurer Brian Mitchell did not seek re-election.

With 23 precincts in the school district, 18,480 voters cast ballots.

Green said she was “overwhelmed” by the encouragement she received.

“My goal was to try and make a positive change in the district and, even though I did not get elected, I am not giving up,” she said. “I will continue to attend board meetings, ask questions, voice my opinions and stay involved. I know I did my best and though I am a little disappointed … I am also proud to say I ran a close race.”


The back-and-forth battle between Supervisor Paul J. Fortino and former Supervisor Chuck Melki wrapped up this round with Fortino as the victor. The incumbent supervisor, whom Melki defeated in the 2012 election only to be recalled by Fortino supporters in 2014, garnered more than 63 percent of the vote with 2,136 ballots cast in his favor. Melki received 1,204 votes.

Incumbent Clerk Michael Dowler defeated challenger Chad Peck, 1,658 to 1,389. Treasurer Diane Hyrman was unopposed this time around.

Matthew D. Moros will be the new trustee on the township board. Moros collected 1,531 votes. He joins incumbent Trustee Lee Purdy, the top vote-getter with 1,656 votes. Moros replaces Chuck Timmons, who had initially sought re-election but withdrew his candidacy.

Other trustee hopefuls were Jeannine P. Ferguson, who received 1,097 votes, and Shirley Pittsley, who collected 1,009 votes.

Fortino said he believes the election was a vote for stability, fairness and “governance without friction.”

“There’s been a fair amount of turmoil,” said Fortino. “I think people saw the last couple of years as being a lot calmer and more productive without a lot of bickering and open hostility.

“From going door-to-door, that was what I was hearing, that they appreciated the fact that things were more civil. They appreciated the steadiness.”


James Florence will retain his seat on the Swartz Creek City Council. Florence, who netted 408 votes, was appointed to serve the remainder of the term of Councilman Michael Shumaker, who died in March.

In the only contested race, Florence emerged the winner over Shumaker’s son, Steve Shumaker, who gathered 334 votes.

Councilmembers-at-large David A. Krueger, the current mayor, and John A. Gilbert were unchallenged in their bids for re-election. Also unopposed was newcomer Dennis W. Cramer, who will replace outgoing at-large Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Richard B. Abrams.


Shelley Thompson will be the new face on the Board of Trustees. Thompson, the second-highest vote-getter at 2,193, will join incumbents Greg Childers, who led the voting with 2,305, Mike Crockett, who received 2,162 votes, and Tamara Kapraun, who earned 2,133 votes.

The fifth candidate, Robert Widigan, received 2,123 votes.

Thompson replaces Trustee Rich Tesner, who did not seek re-election.

Supervisor Chris Gehringer, Clerk Dennis Milem and Treasurer Rick Caruso were unopposed.

Gaines Township mosquito control

In Gaines Township, 55 percent of voters supported the mosquito control ballot initiative, which was approved 1,928 to 1,534. The proposal allows the township board to assess up to $50 per year to pay for mosquito abatement. The assessment applies to all property with residential dwellings, commercial buildings or industrial facilities, as well as mobile homes.

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