During a 14-minute special meeting by zoom on June 16 the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees voted 5-1 to appoint Vincent Warren as the new township treasurer.
He replaces Treasurer James Clark who died June 7 from complications from COVID-19. Under state law the board had 45 days to replace the elected official and the issue was on the agenda of the June 22 meeting.
Instead, a special meeting was called.
Trustee Peggy Morgan was the only board member voting against the appointment. She asked why the appointment was taking place this way instead of the way it had been planned for the June 22 meeting.
Supervisor Tim Bowman said the plan was changed and that, “It’s been going on for a long time.” He claimed Clark had been in the hospital since “30 days ago.”
“Toni is still alive and the office is running,” Trustee Morgan said, referring to Clark’s widow who was the deputy treasurer. She said Deputy Toni Clark had continued to come in to work after her husband’s death and worked Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday the week of the Wednesday special meeting. She chastised the board for not being willing to wait six more days until the next regular meeting.
Morgan said Clark dedicated his time to the township, serving as the first ordinance officer and wrote the first ordinance.
Supervisor Bowman said, “We paid our respects to Jim. We took time out and offered condolences.”
“Shame on this board,” Morgan said, pointing out Clark served on the planning commission and the zoning board of appeals and Toni Clark had been township supervisor.
She said nobody, except her, from the board was at the memorial service for Clark at the church the previous Saturday. She said there was no police officer standing next to his remains at the church, as had been done in the past. She said the chaplain from the fire department did attend.
At past funerals for elected officials who had died in office, the supervisor had gotten up to say a few words and present a plaque.
“This is a slap in the face to Jim and Clarence Hoffman,” Morgan said, referring to Clark’s late cousin who served the township in every elective officer including supervisor.
Trustee Tim Rush interrupted Morgan’s remarks, calling out, “Point of order! Point of order! You need to let Matt or me speak.”
Trustee Matthew Oddy said it was unfortunate that Trustee Morgan used the board meeting to badmouth the board again. He said he took offense at her telling him how to offer condolences.
“I paid my respects, gave my condolences,” Trustee Oddy said.
Trustee Rush said the treasurer’s office has been a turn-style for the past four years. He said the township is paying $160 to Kari Ford to audit the funds and they cannot wait until next week. He said they mean no disrespect to the Clark family or Jim Clark, but, “We’re here and the clock’s ticking.”
Morgan said she had one more statement and then she would be quiet, but Bowman refused to give her the floor again.
Trustee Oddy made the motion to appoint Vincent Warren and Trustee Rush seconded and the motion carried 5-1.
“Condolences to the Clark family,” said Oddy at the end of the meeting. “We need to take care of the township. God bless her family.”
After the brief meeting adjourned, Morgan said, “Shame on you all.”
Deputy Treasurer Toni Clark wrote a letter to the board members after her husband’s death saying she hoped she still had a job with the township. She said she would like the board to appoint her as treasurer by June 14. She was not considered for the post.
Treasurer Vincent Warren is a Democrat who lives at 45465 Dunn Rd., where he has lived for about a dozen years. He ran for treasurer in the Aug. 4, 2020 election and lost to James Clark, 695-547. Clark was unchallenged in the November election.
Warren and his wife of more than 30 years have eight children and five grandchildren.
He has a master’s degree in marriage and family counseling with a baccalaureate in Liberal Arts. During last summer’s campaign, he said his wife Cindy was completing her Doctoral program to join him in advocating for families and youth.
He said he serves as a peer advocate for the nation’s veterans at the Department of Veteran Affairs in Ann Arbor. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1988-1994.
Warren said he was voted a trustee of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4434, was an officer in the Sumpter Township Progressive League, was resident facilitator for the Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development and is a state-certified hospice chaplain.
When he was running for township treasurer he said, “If elected Sumpter Township treasurer I will continue to advocate for the residents, build on current system processes, perform my legal statutory duties to lead the office with a team spirit, transparency, and commitment to the office.”
After he failed at his election bid last August, Supervisor John Morgan appointed him in September to fill a vacancy on the Zoning Board of Appeals, that expired March 31.
Warren also was one of nine applicants who applied to fill a vacant seat for two months on the Van Buren Public Schools Board of Education in October 2016. He was not chosen. In August 2012, he failed to unseat Supervisor Johnny Vawters, who won the primary in a landslide. Warren launched a write-in candidacy for the November election, but was unsuccessful.