2017-07-27 / Local News

Five candidates seek to fill one vacancy on Northport Council

By Patti Brandt Burgess
Of The Enterprise staff

AMONG THOSE hoping to sit on the Northport Village Council are Will Harper, left, who has been active in sewer fee issues, and former village coordinator Frank Goodroe. AMONG THOSE hoping to sit on the Northport Village Council are Will Harper, left, who has been active in sewer fee issues, and former village coordinator Frank Goodroe. Four men and one woman have applied for an open seat on the Northport Village Council.

They include an avid volunteer, a former village administrative coordinator, a business owner, a retired attorney and professor and someone whose face is frequently seen in the council audience.

The deadline to apply was 5 p.m. Monday.

Applicants are Jane Gale, Frank Goodroe, Will Harper, Campbell McLeod and Gerald Schatz.

A sixth candidate, David Stahl, withdrew his application on Monday. He is branch manager of the Suttons Bay office of Traverse City State Bank.

Council members are expected to consider all five remaining applicants and vote on the appointment at their meeting next Thursday, Aug. 3.

“I’m pleased that there’s so much interest in serving the village,” said Phil Mikesell, village president.

Mikesell said he’s not sure how much open discussion there will be on the candidates, but said he’ll have a process in place by the meeting.

The council vacancy came about with the June resignation of Phil Loud, who resigned after public debate over sewer rate proposals submitted by Harper and by Northport resident Mike Sinclair.

In his resignation letter, Loud wrote that he did not have the constitution to tolerate “the noisy and aggravating minority, who are willing to vent their venom at public hearings” and overshadow the “positive accomplishments of the good people on these boards.”

A copy of Loud’s letter was sent to the Enterprise via a Michigan Freedom of Information Act request.

Loud was appointed to the Village Council in March after being chosen to fill the seat of Jim Watson, who had resigned. That term expires in November 2018.

Loud, who had been on the Northport Leelanau Township Utilities Authority (NLTUA) board since 2015, replaced Phil Mikesell as the council representative to NLTUA.

Mikesell made the appointment and stepped down, saying that Loud — a retired engineer — had more sewer experience.

Loud’s replacement as the council representative for the village on NLTUA will also be made at the August meeting.

Applicants are:

 Jane Gale, who has been a full-time resident of Northport since 2015. She has experience as a school board member in the Climax-Scotts school district and has volunteered for local events such as the Wine Festival and Leelanau Uncaged. She is active in several civic and nonprofit organizations.

 Frank Goodroe, who was the village’s administrative coordinator for about six months and recently clashed with the village over a zoning issue at his home in which he ultimately prevailed. He is the owner of Old Mill Pond Cleaning, a business he started about two years ago.

 Will Harper, owner of North Shore Outfitters in Northport. Also an attorney, he also clashed with the village over the zoning and sewer rates for his business, which has a small apartment in the back.

Harper also came up with a proposal to change the sewer rate system that has not been well-received by council members and has been the topic of much debate.

 Campbell McLeod, a former program and project manager for environmental projects at now-closed U.S. Air Force bases in California. He also has experience managing the construction and operation of groundwater treatment systems.

 Gerald Schatz, a retired attorney whose background is in law, public ethics, legislative oversight, environmental planning and conflict resolution, especially for government agencies. Locally, his activities have centered on pro bono mediation. He has also volunteered with ShareCare and the Northport Youth Sailing School.

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