Another one bites the dust: Kennis resigns

Another week is here and another official is leaving Oxford Village government.

You can almost set your watch by it.

This time, it’s Councilman Tom Kennis. He’s resigning from the seat he’s occupied since November 2014.

When asked why he decided to call it quits before his term expires in November 2018, Kennis was reluctant to discuss it.

“I really don’t want to go into it,” he said. “I’ll just lay low for right now. Sorry. No story.”

When pressed for an explanation, Kennis added, “I just didn’t feel like we were going in the right direction.”

Kennis gave his fellow officials a heads-up earlier this month. He sent an Aug. 7 email to the rest of council and village attorney Bob Davis announcing his decision.

“Please accept my formal resignation from the village board,” he wrote. “As per my commitment, I will stay on as part of the board until you can find an acceptable replacement for my current position . . . I wish you wisdom, strength and most of all, strong fiduciary responsibility for our small village.”

“I was surprised and I’m sorry to see him leave,” said village President Sue Bossardet.

In a follow-up email to council and Davis dated Aug. 9, Kennis wrote, “I will not be staying on the board past the first scheduled meeting in September.”

The next regular meeting is Tuesday, Sept. 12 at 6:30 p.m. Bossardet said council will vote on Kennis’ resignation at that time.

According to the village charter, following the vote, council has 30 days to fill the vacancy.

In order to be eligible for appointment to council, the village charter states applicants must be a village resident for at least six months, at least 21 years old and a registered voter.

Based on the charter, applicants also cannot be indebted to the village, meaning they cannot have “any water bill or other financial obligation to the village which is more than 90 days past due, in whole or in part.”

There have been lots of changes in village government this year. For those of you keeping score, here’s a quick recap.

In January, Joe Frost announced his resignation as executive director of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA). He left for a job with Main Street Oakland County.

The following month, Police Chief Mike Neymanowski resigned after 17 years at the helm, while village Manager Joe Young, hired in 2004, was terminated in a 3-2 council vote.

In June, Clerk/Treasurer Susan Nassar retired. She had been with the village since 2011.

After two candidates declined job offers from the DDA in March and May, the executive director position was finally filled by Glenn Pape, of Howell (see story on Page 6).

Mike Solwold has been serving as acting chief of the police department since February and is expected to fill the position on a permanent basis once a contract is finalized. He’s been an Oxford officer since the 1990s.

The village is currently on its second interim manager since May. Evan Teich is contracted to fill that role until Nov. 3.

As for the clerk/treasurer position, the village had approved an employment agreement with Lee Ann O’Connor, of Waterford, but she decided to not take the job and keep her current position as city clerk for Rochester.


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