Following a year of service as Peters Township Council’s vice chairman, Frank Kosir Jr. has been elected to the chairmanship for 2019.
The vote was 5-2 in favor of Kosir, who represents the township at large since his 2015 election. Monica Merrell also received a nomination and voted for herself, as did Gary Stiegel Jr.
During the audience comments portion of council’s annual reorganization and the year's first regular meeting on Jan. 7, three township residents reacted to the decision not to elect the only female council member to the top spot.
“I only have to point to November’s election to show you that a goodly number of women were nominated and won election to Congress. It’s only reasonable that we should be thinking along the same lines,” said Ronald Boocks of Bebout Road. “I really think we have to look at giving women an opportunity not only to serve on the boards, but also to chair our executive position here on council.”
Bethany Drive resident Carolee Ketelaar agreed.
“I appreciate all your service,” she told council members. “I appreciate all the time and effort that it takes each and every one of you to come to the meetings and do the work that needs to be done. But I ask respectfully when the next opportunity arises for you to put Monica on the chairmanship.”
Speaking on behalf of the women of Peters Township, she said:
“It is important to us that we have representation and leadership on council.”
Ann Shaner of Robinhood Lane also spoke up for Merrell.
“I think she has performed dutifully. She comes prepared. She asks legitimate questions. And I don’t think any one of you could sit there and give me a good reason,” Shaner said in reference to the vote.
Merrell, who is entering her 12th year on council and represents the township’s District B, thanked the residents for their support.
“I do have to tell you that it has been a disappointment in the past,” she said. “However, I feel I try to do the best I can, and it doesn’t matter whether I’m chair or not. I will do whatever I can to be the best councilperson, not just for the people who elect me but for everyone.”
Also during the reorganization, David Ball was elected vice chairman, 4-3. Stiegel was the other nominee and received votes from Merrell and Robert Lewis.
Council unanimously designated the Observer-Reporter as the township’s official newspaper for 2019. Meetings will continue to take place at 7:30 p.m. the second and fourth Mondays of each month, with two exceptions: May 28, the Tuesday following Memorial Day, and Dec. 16, that month’s third Monday.
Also as approved by council, John Smith of the law firm of Smith Butz LLC continues to serve as township solicitor. Gateway Engineers continues as consulting engineer; Lennon, Smith, Souleret Engineering Inc. as alternate; and Traffic Planning and Design Inc. as traffic engineer.