A heated race of seven candidates for four Macomb Township Board of Trustees posts will be decided by local voters on Nov. 3.
Current Macomb Township trustees Nancy Nevers and Charlie Oliver will face challenges from fellow Republicans Frank Cusumano and Peter J. Lucido III, as well as Democrats Laurita Bledsoe, Linda Rose Clor and Robert Johnston. Four seats are up for election, each with a four-year term. The position of trustee is part-time with an annual salary of $9,000 plus $200 per meeting according to township information.
Bledsoe, 65, has an associate’s degree in early childhood education and a doctorate in theology. She has lived in the township for 2 1/2 years. For her prior relevant political experience, Bledsoe listed “Over 12 years spearheading collaborative community outreaches that includes budgeting, interactions with governmental entities, businesses, services and resources to galvanize them for the empowerment of families and neighborhoods. Women’s Chair for the United Nations Chapter of Detroit, President of the Ecumenical Council of the 6th District of Detroit, Mayor Dave Bing Clergy for Jobs and Economical Growth. Many other ministerial operations involving planning, budgeting, allocations and galvanizing.”
Clor, 68, has a master’s degree from Wayne State University in social work and interpersonal relationships. She has a bachelor’s of science degree from Oakland University and a general studies degree from Macomb Community College. She has resided in Macomb Township for 22 years. For her prior relevant political experience, Clor responded, “Ford Motor Company UAW 400 election in my 20’s with a no win. Ran as a write-in for township trustee in 2016 with a no win.”
Johnston, 61, is a 30-year resident of Macomb Township. Johnston has a master’s degree and recently retired after 36 years as a public school teacher. Seven or eight years ago he served on the township’s original historical commission.
Cusumano, 58, has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a juris doctor’s degree from University of Detroit Law School. He has been a Macomb Township resident for 20 years. He has served as a Macomb Community College trustee since 2012 and currently serves in this position as a vice-chairperson. He lists his other prior political experience as “Past member Macomb GOP executive committee; GOP precinct delegate 2008 to present, former president Columbus Day Celebration CTE.”
Lucido, age 38, has a bachelor’s degree from Oakland University. He has resided in Macomb Township for 15 years. He lists his prior relevant political experience as “first time candidate.”
Nevers lists her age as “over 70” without being specific and her education as “five years college – marketing – no degree.” She has been a township resident for 20 years. Nevers lists her prior political experience as “Incumbent – 16 years township.”
Oliver, 65, has lived in Macomb Township for 51 years. He lists his education as “Macomb Community College, state certified Citizen Planner.” From 1980 to 1988 he served as a board of review member. From 1988 to 2004 he served as a Macomb Township trustee. From 2004 to the present he has been a planning commission member, and from 2020 to present an appointed township trustee.
The Macomb Daily posed questions to the trustee candidates, requesting responses limited to 50 words per question:
What do you feel are the three most important issues facing Macomb Township?
Bledsoe: “Transparency, equity, equality and accountability in every area, across the board. Excellent educational resources and facilitation for all of our children. Sustainability and support for our small businesses.”
Clor: “Priority issues, transparency, honesty and fiscal responsibility in all matters related to township business. Respectful interactions between the board and all residents. Community features of improve travel infrastructures, increase parks and services to seniors. Establishing a farmers market, dog park and more quality but economical recreational, social and cultural activities for all.”
Johnston: “The main issue are the roads, the roads within the subdivisions need to be addressed. The funding for these repairs should come from four different areas. Current construction companies should be participating in, willingly put forth some money to help pay for these, the county should be part of this. The township should be part of this and the state should be part of this, with the citizens in the township should have to help as well. We need to take a look at all legacy costs that the township has to incur and see if there is a way to possibly change some of those costs.”
Cusumano: “Third-party contracts need to be subjected to real negotiation and the township purchasing policy, wherever possible, including water, sewage treatment, engineering services, and public safety. Second, roads and sidewalks are a priority. Third, sustainable fiscal policies which balance growth with quality of life by thoughtful revision of the Master Plan.”
Lucido: “(1) Distrust in government, (2) Sidewalks being connected, (3) Overcrowding and infrastructure.”
Nevers: “Completing the final phase of our Ethics Ordinance…Three Person Advisory Board. Roadway congestion needs to be addressed. Work toward reducing the impact of government regulations in our community.”
Oliver: “1. Continue the progress on the roads and get bridges opened. 2. Establish realistic plans and goals to renovate the newest park land properties purchased. 3. Complete the Master Plan update.”
How do you plan to address these three important issues, if you are elected?
Bledsoe: “There has to be rules and regulations that every governing person has to adhere to. Accountability has to be enforced and not based on relationship, status or money, but honesty and transparency. There has to be something else in place separate to make sure the guidelines are honored. Train teachers to be as efficient and effective virtually as in person. Make sure every student has what they need to get the best all around education they need to prepare and position them to be competitive in this scientific, technological age. Excellent communication between all of those involved in our children’s learning experience. Strategic planning for shopping in our neighborhoods. Having the tools and resources available and accessible to small businesses. Bringing in the community leaders, businesses and other entities to access what’s needed and what we need to do to get the best results for not only sustainability, but growth.”
Clor: “Mutual respect of all along with transparency, honesty and fiscal responsibility will give us the cutting edge for having a great community. Our spirit of working together for the good of all will improve our decision making abilities and will establish us as positive partners for enthusiastic achievement of our goals.”
Johnston: “We need to take a look at the sheriffs’ department and see if we can as a township assist them in bringing back some kind of a drug awareness program for our young people. This needs to be addressed through both the township and the school systems within the township. Drug use and abuse is up and it is our responsibility to see if we can assist in changing that.”
Cusumano: “Honest government. Establish a control system, such as a robust whistleblower policy, designed to detect, expose and then prosecute – both criminally and civilly – any public official or employee that breaches the public trust including recoupment of embezzled and stolen monies and treble damages for conversion from them personally.”
Lucido: “(1) Conduct myself in a professional and ethical manner. (2) Keep moving along with the Pathway Gap Closure Program and hopefully speed it up. (3) Work with the planning commission and city planner to update the Master Plan to help support the influx of residents coming into the township.”
Nevers: “Start the process to nominate a Three Person Advisory Board from interested residents. Make paving Broughton Road all the way to Heydenreich job one! My third goal can be accomplished through revising and updating industrial building ordinances and exploring opportunities of mixed usages in industrial areas, ultimately promoting new business in our township.”
Oliver: “1. Continue working with the county to fix our roads and look for other funding sources such as state or private grants to open up bridges that have been closed for decades.
2. Multiple parcels of park land has been purchased. We need to carefully study, plan and phase in new renovations of these parks. We need to be thoughtful of the budget while considering the money needed to update these properties without raising taxes. 3. As a current member of the planning commission, we are studying the NE area of the township that is not developed, and working with all stakeholders and resident groups for input to consider what our community will look like in the future.”
Running unopposed on Nov. 3 for the full-time supervisor position in Macomb Township is Republican Frank Viviano. The position of supervisor is a four-year term with a salary of $90,000 according to township information. Running unopposed for the full-time clerk position in Macomb Township is incumbent Republican Kristi Pozzi. The position of clerk is a four-year-term with a salary of $85,000 according to township information. Running unopposed on Nov. 3 for the full-time treasurer position in Macomb Township is Republican Leon Drolet. The position of treasurer is a four-year term with a salary of $85,000 according to township information.