2017-10-12 / Local News

New Leland deputy clerk in line for clerkship; deep roots in twp.

Remember ag agent Stanley Ball?
By Alan Campbell
Of The Enterprise staff

LISA BROOKFIELD can walk to her new job as deputy clerk of Leland Township. LISA BROOKFIELD can walk to her new job as deputy clerk of Leland Township. Just-hired Leland Township deputy clerk Lisa Brookfield is familiar with how residents offer their input into Leelanau politics.

“I understand that part of my job will be having lively conversations at the grocery store and post office,” said Brookfield in a phone interview shortly after accepting the position. “Part of the interviewing process was about, ‘Now, how do you feel about talking to people who don’t agree with you.’”

Brookfield was hired by long-time township Clerk Jane Keen, who announced in June that she hoped to retire before completing her four-year term that ends in 2020. Township clerks have authority to hire their deputies without Township Board approval, but Brookfield and a second resident who sought the position were interviewed at a special meeting held Sept. 5. Also applying was resident Mariann Kirch.

Another special meeting was held Friday, Sept. 29, at which trustees had a chance to discuss a proposal by Keen to hire Brookfield as her deputy for six months of training.

After six months, if all goes well, Keen said she could retired and the Township Board would hire Brookfield as her replacement.

“I asked the board for their feeling on this because I didn’t want to spend six months of my life training somebody for nothing, and I wanted them to feel comfortable with this. And they were,” Keen said.

The clerk position, Keen continued, has grown complicated during her 17-year-tenure.

“The biggest thing through all of this was trying to make a smooth transition for the community, for the township and for employees. I’ve been around a long time, and people kind of get use to the same person,” she added.

The six-month trial period would provide Brookfield with on-the-job training for the process of writing a 2018-19 budget, and take her into the township Annual Meeting held in March.

“That gets us into the first of April. I told them I thought that would be good for the community and the candidate ... for the bulk of it, payroll and human resources, six months will be fine,” Keen said. She added that she would also be available to work on a part-time basis after her retirement.

The timeline meets another important deadline for Keen, who will turn 75 next summer and plans to spend more time with her 10 grandchildren. She said when announcing her plans to retire, “If he or she would like to start before my big birthday, I would be happy.”

Family is also important to Brookfield, who is the granddaughter of a well-known Leland Township resident within the county agricultural community in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Stanley Ball served as the county Extension agent and wrote weekly columns as such for the Leelanau Enterprise.

“He was very involved in local government, as was my grandmother,” Brookfield said. “They would be proud. I’m sad that they wont’ be able to clip this article. It would be on their refrigerator.”

Brookfield lives within walking distance of the Leland Township office in Lake Leelanau. She has been married for 23 years to husband Tracy, a garden landscaper. They have two grown sons, Charlie, 22, and Sidney, 19, who both attended Leland Public School.

Brookfield, who holds a degree from Northwestern Michigan College, is a consultant who has worked with county businesses, a former manager with clothing designer and manufacturer Baabaazuzu, and former co-owner of Jack of The Green retail garden shop in Lake Leelanau. Her resume states, “I am a self-starting, creative general and project manager with expertise in communication, marketing strategy, design and social media.”

She feels that her background makes her a good fit for the position. Both her parents are entrepreneurs. Her mother, Penny Ball, owns an antique business.

“I really enjoy greeting and meeting with the public,” Brookfield said. “I’m really excited. My family has deep roots in the area and the county. The opportunity to serve is something I’m really looking forward to.”

Brookfield will be paid $20 per hour. It’s the same hourly wage provided former deputy clerk Susan Buxton, who resigned and has moved to Traverse City. Keen expects that Brookfield will work 35-hour weeks.

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