ADA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Ada Township trustees chose one of their own to be the new township clerk in a Monday night vote at a board meeting.
The top two candidates for the job were Lisa Verburg and Jacqueline Smith. Verburg is a township assessor and Smith a trustee. Five other candidates also applied for the position, all of whom are township residents but none of whom are township employees.
Smith and the other trustees conducted the interviews of the applicants for the clerk position, which created concern among some residents.
“Yes, it has been awkward,” Smith said. “But I continue to do my best to serve this community. I’m appalled and offended at anonymous accusations that I and the township have performed illegally and unethically.”
After making that statement, Smith decided to removed herself from the vote to choose who would be hired.
“I just chose to recuse myself to take away any appearance of wrongdoing,” Smith said afterward.
“I think it’s in best interest of the community and kind of takes away any issues that were out there,” Ada Township Supervisor George Haga said of the decision.
The Michigan Townships Association says that state election law does not prohibit a board member from being involved in the hiring process for a new clerk even if she is applying for the job. The only person who can’t participate in the selection process is the person who left the position.
“We’ll take a look at our program and see how to be more transparent,” Haga said.
Smith will take over as clerk next month.