Thursday, June 24, 2021

Sumpter trustees appoint new township treasurer

Members of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees have appointed Vincent Warren to complete the remainder of the vacant treasurer's position.

Warren was sworn into office June 17 and will complete the term of James Clark, who died June 7. Warren sought the treasurer's office on the primary ballot in the township last year and garnered 547 votes while Mr. Clark received 695.

Warren's appointment was not without conflict at the brief special meeting of the township board of trustees June 16 when he was named to the office. Trustee Peggy Morgan insisted that making the appointment during a special meeting was “really disrespectful to the Clark family” and asked Supervisor Tim Bowman why the appointment couldn't be put off until the next regularly scheduled meeting of the board.

She insisted that the treasurer's office was continuing to operate and that Deputy Treasurer Toni Clark, the widow James Clark, was in the office. 

Bowman explained that the action was in no way disrespectful to James Clark and that the members of the board had each taken time to pay their respects to the family.

“Toni doesn't deserve this. Shame on this board. This is a disgusting slap in the face to our residents,” she said, claiming that there was no township representation at services for Mr. Clark.

Her remarks prompted vigorous responses from Trustee Matt Oddy and Trustee Tim Rush who both immediately called for a “point of order” from Bowman.

“It is unfortunate that Ms. Morgan took this opportunity to disparage this board again,” Oddy said. “I take offense at anybody telling me how I should show respect. I gave my condolences. I paid my respects. Ms. Morgan is again taking this opportunity to berate and bash this board.”

Rush was also critical of Morgan's personal remarks and criticism.

“The treasurer's department has been a turnstile for four years. We have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars there. We just started our audit with Post, Smythe Lutz and Ziel. It is costing us $160 an hour to get ready for the audit. We need the proper people in place. We cannot wait.

“This is about doing what is right for the township. The clock is ticking. We have to move now,” Rush said.

Morgan cast the lone dissenting vote on the appointment of Warren to the position.

In a later interview, Rush said he had every confidence that the board members made the right choice in Warren.

“I am confident in Mr. Warren's morals, his integrity and his intelligence. We will be just fine,” Rush said. “This was the correct decision for the township and will allow us to move forward.” 

Warren holds a master's degree in marriage and family counseling and a baccalaureate degree in liberal arts. He currently serves as a peer advocate for veterans at the Department of Veteran Affairs in Ann Arbor and serves as an advocate for veterans in eight counties in both Michigan and Ohio. He deals with healthcare, employment, family counseling, finances and end-of-life support for veterans. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Persian Gulf/Desert Storm operations from 1988 through 1994 before being honorably discharged.

Warren and his wife of 32 years, Cindy, have lived in the township for 12 years and are the parents of eight and grandparents of five.