The news this week that Dorr Township Assessor Patti Sampley has
resigned merely bolsters my assertion that the Contras are resurgent in local politics and the consequences are obvious.
Sampley, in announcing her resignation, told the Penasee Globe, “Since the past election and change in elected officials, the dynamics of this township have drastically changed. It has always been my belief that if I cannot give 100 percent to a township then it is time for me to move on. Certain circumstances have made this impossible to happen…”
There were two changes of elected officials in the last election, Clerk Debbie Sewers replaced Brian Boot and Terri Rios was elected as a new trustee. Though both are fresh faces on the Township Board, they also bring with them old and tired issues and local government
policy suspiciously similar to former Trustee Patty Senneker, current Trustee John Tuinstra and unelected gadfly and puppetmaster Bernie Schumaker.
They have wasted no time in changing the board’s dynamics, forming a voting block of three to make things dicey when any one of the four other board members are not present for meetings. For example, when Trustee Josh Otto was absent last June, they were able to force a 3-3 tie on a motion to reappoint Bob Wagner chairman of the Planning Commission, delaying action and making it necessary for a special meeting to be called to make the final tally 4-3. At taxpayers’ expense.
Though Tuinstra has long talked about term limits being his chief reason for opposing Wagner, who has been chairman since 1975, it is no secret he, Sewers and Rios are doing the bidding of Senneker and Schumaker. Tuinstra’s explanation actually is like peeing on the public’s shoes while telling them it’s raining.
Sampley, who has been assessor since 2015 after Don Kaczanowski’s retirement, has spent a great deal of time doing state-mandated reappraisals, for which the three Contras have only grudgingly agreed to pay for. Her parting shot about the election results changing the dynamics was a shot across the bow at Sewers and Rios. They are the only suspects that fit the profile.
The Township Board several years ago did a terrific job in encouraging and overseeing the turnover of about a dozen Dorr Township employees or officials because of attitudes and micro-managing. Will this disturbing trend continue? Does a bear defecate in the woods?
Sewers last year seized the day and went door to door to upend incumbent Brian Boot in the Republican primary. But there is no excuse on the election of Rios, who ran for her seat unopposed. Sir Edmund Burke’s famous quote applies here: “The best way for evil to triumph is for all good men to do nothing.”
There will be at least three more years of this circus that has made the Dorr Township Board the laughing stock of the rest of Allegan County. All we can hope for is that the foursome making up one block show up often enough to stop the kind of nonsense that delayed the appointment of Wagner. And then somebody, please run against Rios in the 2020 Republican primary.