Traverse City Record-Eagle

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November 12, 2013

Commissioners take oaths, OK appointments

TRAVERSE CITY — A new-look city commission confirmed a handful of nominations to city boards but one seat on the planning commission remains unfilled.

The nominations occurred after recently re-elected Mayor Michael Estes and first-time commissioners Tim Werner, Ross Richardson and Gary Howe took oaths of office following their election-day victories last week.

Werner, Richardson and Howe tallied the most votes out of seven city commission candidates, while an embattled Estes defeated opponent Rick Buckhalter one day after Estes pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of driving while impaired in 86th District Court following his drunken driving arrest last month.

Estes did not mention his arrest or guilty plea during the brief organizational meeting Monday but he did thank voters for their support.

“I look forward to the opportunity to work with my fellow commissioners and to ensure that Traverse City remains the No.1 city in the entire state of Michigan,” Estes said.

Estes appointed Jeanine Easterday and Werner to represent the city commission on the planning board. He also reappointed outgoing planning board member Cecil McNally, and appointed Janet Fleshman and Jody Bergman, a former city commissioner who lost her re-election bid this month, to fill three citizen-at-large seats on that board.

Estes declined to nominate a candidate for a fourth citizen-at-large position. He said, with so many vacancies on the planning commission opening up at once, he wanted to give members of the public more time to apply for the last position.

“I only had two other candidates to interview, and it’s not that there was necessarily anything wrong with those candidates, but I really thought it was important to open this up to the general public if they want to take this opportunity,” Estes said after the meeting.

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