By Jim Newell
The Lake Orion Village Council voted 6-0 to appoint Brad Mathisen to the council to fill the seat left vacant after former Councilmember Ray Hammond resigned.
The appointment came during a special meeting on May 5, in which the council also interviewed two other candidates who had submitted applications for the position.
Lake Orion business owner Matt Pfeiffer and Lori Pesci, a 24-year village resident, also applied for the position and were interviewed during the online special meeting.
Mathisen lost his re-election bid in the November 2020 general election. There were six candidates running for four seats in the election, with newcomers Sarah Luchsinger and Michael Lamb and incumbents Ken Van Portfliet and Jerry Narsh taking the top four spots. Mathisen finished in fifth place.
He previously served on the council from 2013 until the 2020 election. Since that time, he has been a regular attendee at village council meetings.
When asked what being a village councilmember means to him, Mathisen said giving back and making processes easier for residents and businesses.
“It means giving back to the residents. Helping to, at least trying to, promote the village. Make things streamlined (and) easily accessible to the residents and businesses,” Mathisen said.
Mathisen said the single most pressing issue that he would like to see the village address is infrastructure.
He said he felt he could be effective in supporting the village and taxpayers by being “more available” and “being more informed and going out and speaking to residents and businesses.”
The top priorities Mathisen said he would like to accomplish during his time on the village council including funding
“I’d like to see more funding from the state. I’d like to see the lift stations addressed. Those would be the top two things…at the moment,” Mathisen said.
“Based on my review of the applications and my understanding of the qualifications of the candidates I feel that it would be in the best interest of the village – since we have two new council members – and we have a very experienced councilperson, ex-councilperson, who had many votes at the last election,” said Councilmember Michael Lamb, “I would like to move that we approve the appointment of Bradley Mathisen to the Lake Orion Village Council to fill the vacancy of Ray Hammond, with the term ending Nov. 11, 2020.”
Councilmember Doug Hobbs supported the motion.
Council President Ken Van Portfliet said he would like to find roles for Pesci and Pfeiffer to be active in the village.
“I would like to say, Ms. Pesci and Matt, you two are great people in this community and we’re going to look for places to plug you in. This is not done. I really appreciate your desire to assist. We’re going to look to utilize that, so please stay tight with us, even in your opinions…I appreciate that. And I thank you,” Van Portfliet said.
Hammond submitted his resignation to Van Portfliet and village Manager Joe Young in a letter dated March 21, 2021. The council voted to officially accept Hammond’s resignation at its April 12 and had 30 days in which to fill the vacancy.
Hammond became the seventh councilmember to resign from the council since 2001.
He was first appointed to the council in August 2018 after former councilmembers Shauna Brown and Steve Watson resigned in July 2018.
Because Hammond and current Councilmember Teresa Rutt were on the Nov. 6, 2018 general election ballot, the council voted during its Aug. 20, 2018 meeting to appoint Rutt and Hammond to fill the vacancies left by Brown and Watson.
The village council meets regularly at 7:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of the month. During the COVID-19 pandemic, meetings are conducted virtually.
Check the agendas on the village’s website, lakeorion.org, under the “Boards” menu and then the “Village Council Meeting Minutes and Info” tab for the links to join the online meetings. Those who join the meetings online through Zoom can speak during the public comments portion of the meeting.
Meetings can also be viewed on Comcast cable channel 20 or ATT cable channel 99 and online at www.orionontv.org.