Caro Mayor Joe Greene is sworn in by Karen Snider, Caro clerk/interim city manager, Thursday. Greene won a write-in campaign that was essentially two weeks long. (Photo by John Cook)

Caro elects new mayor, leads day of change in Tuscola

Caro Mayor Joe Greene is sworn in by Karen Snider, Caro clerk/interim city manager, Thursday. Greene won a write-in campaign that was essentially two weeks long. (Photo by John Cook)
Caro Mayor Joe Greene is sworn in by Karen Snider, Caro clerk/interim city manager, Thursday. Greene won a write-in campaign that was essentially two weeks long. (Photo by John Cook)

The city of Caro’s new mayor – Joe Greene – was sworn in Thursday after a busy two weeks leading up to Tuesday’s election.
It was one of many changes resulting from Election Day 2016 in Tuscola County (see list at end of story).
After a special Caro City Council meeting Thursday, Greene said even he was surprised by the results – he ousted former mayor Dick Pouliot by a vote of 844-647. By comparison, Pouliot ran unopposed for his most recent term and was elected with 135 votes. Greene did it with a last minute, write-in campaign.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the city voters who chose me to represent them as mayor,” Greene said during the meeting. “I feel it’s an honor to be elected as the next mayor and I’m sincerely humbled at voters who put their faith and trust in me.
“It’s a responsibility I do not take lightly and I will try to represent everybody to the best of my ability,” Greene said.
None of the other council members said anything during the meeting with regard to Greene’s election to serve as mayor.
Henry Knier Jr., vice president, Caro Community Schools Board of Education, was the only member of the public to speak in support of Greene.
“I want to say congratulations to you and I look forward to your leadership of our city,” Knier said. “I know you’ve always worked hard at everything you’ve done.”
As The Advertiser first reported Oct. 26, Greene sought election with hopes of bringing a “Yes we can” attitude to living and doing business in the city – an approach he says begins with elected officials, is missing, and holds the area back.
Greene, a Caro City Council member for the last 10 years, filed just before the Oct. 28 deadline to run as a write-in candidate against Pouliot, a member of the council for more than two decades in various roles.
Greene’s filing came just before the deadline and after a contentious month centered on a $1.2 million project that had been in the works for downtown Caro. The project developer pulled the plug on the rum microdistillery-based project last week, citing a negative reception from elected officials. Many in and around Caro expressed outrage at the mishandling of the project.
Greene, however, was consistently supportive of it.
At Thursday’s meeting, Greene thanked his family and everyone who volunteered time to work on his whirlwind campaign that included going door-to-door, placing and displaying campaign signs, as well as a print ads and a strong social media presence.
“Most of all I would like to thank the citizens of Caro for making your vote your voice and expressing your confidence in me,” Greene said. “And now let’s move Caro forward together.”
Greene told The Advertiser after the meeting that the city’s top priorities are hiring a new city manager and working to spurn economic development in Caro’s downtown area.
Specifically, he said, that begins with doing an inventory of vacant and available properties in the area to establish a sort of baseline to build on.
In other election results:
• Republican Party newcomer Russell Speirs defeated write-in candidate Duane Lockwood, 445 to 147, to become the new Ellington Township supervisor. In the clerk’s race, Republican Party newcomer Bobbie Mozden ousted incumbent Democrat Joddy Ehrenberg, 364 to 271. The treasurer’s race in Ellington saw Republican newcomer Carmell K. Pattullo defeat write-in candidate Diane Wilder, 420 to 172. A pair of Republicans, newcomer Gregg Campbell (384 votes) and incumbent Michael Wagner (391 votes), won over incumbent Democrat Patrick Price (272 votes).
• In Almer Township, incumbent Democrat Charles Dennis (414 votes) lost his trustee seat as voters opted to pick four Republicans: challengers Jim Tussey (639 votes), Art Graff (615 votes) and Jim Rosenstangel (601 votes) and incumbent Brian Schriber (529 votes). Write-in candidate Christopher Wilcox received 148 votes.
• Cass City voters elected Thomas Herron to the village council with 618 votes, and re-elected Jenny Zawilinski (603 votes) and Michael Kirn (560 votes). Jefrey Benkelman received 495 votes.
• Village of Reese voters settled a five-person race for three trustee seats by choosing Pete Bouvy (389 votes), John Weber (369 votes) and Brian Weihl (343 votes) over Denise Fielbrandt (330 votes) and Jamie Comer (261 votes).
• Mayville voters made Barbara Valentine their new village president, by a 182-154 margin over Tony Windham. Valentine takes over for Clare Fryers who steps down from the post. Sue Atkinson (220 votes), William Barkowska (199) and Steve Charette (180) were victorious in their bids for village council seats. Write-in candidate Elisia A. Werner collected 31 votes.
• Five candidates battled for village president in Akron, with James L. Dickinson (45 votes) winning the top job. Michael Ruppal gained 39 votes, ahead of Robert Hill (25), Robert Sode (21) and Kathy Dalecke (17).
• Six candidates sought three trustee seats on the Gagetown Village Council. Winners were Craig Downing (82 votes), Paul Hunter (78 votes) and Edward Rievert (76 votes). June G. Fritz (43 votes), Lee Osborne (25 votes) and Brian Whisnant (22 votes) failed in their bids.
• A three-person race for one seat on the Kingston Community Schools Board of Education saw challenger Lane Walker win with 660 votes, ousting incumbent Ray Wolak (346 votes) and defeating challenger Sarah Schuler (290 votes).
• Dayton Township Supervisor Robert J. Cook, a Republican, sent challenger Leo Schafke, a Democrat, to defeat on Tuesday, by a count of 608 to 276.
• Likewise, Fremont Township voters re-elected Henry J. Wymore as supervisor, picking him over Democrat Robert DeCoe, 948 to 568. Residents chose Republican Matthew Blatt (857 votes) and Democrat John Welke (826 votes) as trustees, with Ida Barrons (542 votes) losing out.
• Wells Township Trustee James Kratz was the top vote-getter in a race for two trustee seats among four candidates with no party affiliation. Kratz collected 295 votes, with Ronda Benjamin also winning with 255 votes. Lorraine Hergenreder (206 votes) and Lori Zawerucha (139 votes) came up short.
• Residents of Wisner Township, in northwest Tuscola County, re-elected Vickie Vader, a Republican, as trustee, and elected Democratic Party challenger Katie Meyers. Vader acquired 194 votes, with Meyers netting 154, in their victories over Aaron Mallais – a candidate with no party affiliation receiving 123 votes.
• Arbela Township voters, in the southwest corner of Tuscola County, ousted incumbent Democrat Kenneth Panek, the township supervisor, by electing Republican Joseph B. “Joe” White, 754 to 687. Panek unseated White four years ago.
• Voters in Koylton Township in southeast Tuscola County re-elected incumbent Republican Justin Boyl (487 votes) and elected Republican challenger Kyle Thom (455 votes) over write-in candidate Rex W. Vroman (49 votes).
•Novesta Township voters re-elected Joann M. Peters, a Democrat, as their clerk, by a 335-191 margin over Bob Dickson, a challenger with no party affiliation.
•Millington Township residents re-elected Democratic Party incumbent Supervisor Terry F. Jones over challenger David Niggemeyer, a candidate with no party affiliation, 1,125 to 444. Voters also re-elected Republican Robert Worth (1,274 votes) as trustee and made Republican Robert Loomis (1,207 votes) a trustee, ousting Trustee A.E. “Bud” Hoard, a Democrat who collected 939 votes.
•Watertown Township Republican Frank Worvie unseated Supervisor Danny Quertermous, a Democrat, 608 to 357. The township also will have two new trustees – Republicans Chloe A. Valentine (646 votes) and Stephanie Nelson (560 votes). Boyd Vollweiler, a Democrat, received 387 votes in a losing effort.
Andrew Dietderich is editor of The Advertiser and can be reached at andrew@tcadvertiser.com

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