Orion Township Board of Trustees Candidates

There are five candidates vying for four seats on the Orion Twp. Board of Trustees:
Mike Flood, John Steimel, Brian Birney, Ron Sliwinski and Courtney Shafer.
Shafer did not submit comments to the Lake Orion Review.
Voters will vote for four candidates in the Trustee race.

Michael Flood Jr (Mike)
Family/Occupation: Wife, Lillian (married 47 years)
Daughter, Kristen Trayner; Grandson Austin McGee; Granddaughter Shea Trayner. Retired Skilled Trades GM Truck & Bus-Pontiac Plants
Why are you the right choice for Trustee?
Since July of 2011 I’ve had the honor, privilege and experience of serving our beloved Lake Orion/Orion community as a trustee on the seven-member Board of Trustees. Serving as an incumbent trustee my board deliberations (discussions) and board consensus decision making (voting record) is a matter of the public record. An experience and proven leadership candidate.
What are some of the most important issues facing the township?
Fiscal responsibility managing ALL township assets and funds; general, police, fire, safety path, capital improvement and water/sewer proprietary funds. Maintaining a current balanced budget and rolling three-year forecast budget.
Current and future economic and development growth of the township; Master Plan, M-24 Overlay District, BIZ District, Gingellville Overlay District, water/sewer infrastructure and roads.
What would you like to see the board/township accomplish in the future?
Continue moving forward with new innovative ideas and technologies that benefits the whole Lake Orion/Orion residents, businesses and community. To continue the open communications and dialog with the Lake Orion Village, Lake Orion Community Schools as well, surrounding communities, that serves in the best interest of all our respective residents and businesses.
What will you personally bring to the board?
I bring to the Board my experience and educational background to fully engage in board deliberations and board consensus decision making that serves to represent in the best interest of all 38,000 Orion/Lake Orion residents as well, local business owners.

John Steimel
Family/Occupation: I have been married for 33 years to the greatest partner I could have ever hoped for, Julie. We have two children Chris and Jackie that we raised in Orion Township and are now creating their own lives, When I am not attending township meetings or volunteering around the township, I am at my full time job as a Staff Controls Engineer at FANUC America Corporation in Rochester Hills.
Why are you the right choice for Trustee? I would hope that people see that since I have been a trustee in Orion Township for over a decade that I bring a broad spectrum of experience to the board of trustees. I have seen good things and I have seen some not-so-good things happen during my time on the board. Most of all, I have learned that for every ordinance the board enacts, for every budget item the board approves and for every decision the board makes, there are people in the township that will benefit and there are people in the township that will suffer. Part of my job as a board member is to seek out these pros and cons on every issue and use them to make a balanced and informed vote.
What are some of the most important issues facing the township?  I still think the most important issue facing the township is controlled growth. This obviously refers to land use issues in the township that are affecting the infrastructure. Anyone who lives in the township can see how growth is affecting our roads, but there are also water distribution, waste water management and storm water handling issues that must be managed. Controlled growth also refers to excessive government control and budget management. There are a significant number of residents in the township who live on a very fixed income and the board of trustees must keep this in mind when considering expenditures.
What would you like to see the board/township accomplish in the future?  I would like to see the board continue working to stabilize the long-term outlook for the township. Protecting and maintaining the assets the township already has should be just as important as shiny new projects. I would hope the board of trustees also remembers that there are lots of people assets in the township. Making sure that the right person is in every position and that each employee is given the appropriate tools and access to training in order to perform their jobs well can have a larger affect on the community as a whole than any new building or park can have.
What will you personally bring to the board?  I think, more than anything, my engineering and project management background brings an important piece to the township board team. As the longest serving member of the board of trustees, I have taken upon myself to sometimes remind my fellow board members that we must put the interests of the people of the township ahead of our own self interests.

Ron Sliwinski

Family/Occupation: Wife Kristin, 8 year old son Owen, 21 month old twin girls named Bailey and Coley
Why are you the right choice for Trustee?
I am a proud and committed resident, parent, and Lake Orion Community Schools special education teacher and coach. My diverse experiences with families, neighbors and other community members over the past 17 years will allow me to effectively represent the residents in the township and village on all of the major topics that are of concern. As a trustee, I will consistently complete thorough research and use data to drive decisions. I will dedicate myself to represent all community members, including longtime residents, newer residents, families who have young and school aged children, as well as families that have lived here for generations.
What are some of the most important issues facing the township?
The topic of growth, development, and future planning is something that has been in the forefront of the community. It is critical for the Orion Township Board of Trustees to constantly reach out to the residents to represent their wants, needs, and goals. I will do my best to reach out to residents because it is important that there is managed growth that will fit the needs and infrastructure of our community to enhance what makes Lake Orion such a great place to live.
I would also like to address the issue of transparency and increase communication from our township board to the residents of our community. It is very important for elected officials to be honest and willing to interact with residents. I have worked hard on every board and committee that I have been a part of, elected or volunteer, to reach out to those I represent and communicate with them in multiple ways.
What would you like to see the board/township accomplish in the future?
I would like to make sure that all residents of Orion Township have a voice and are represented by their elected officials on the township board. With different periods of home building booms in the township, we have a good blend of residents who have family ties going back for generations, families who moved here to raise their family and many new young residents who have recently become members of our community and are looking to start their own family. I would like to make communication with the township office and the citizens easier, more efficient and increase accessibility to elected officials so those in the community have a voice in decisions that will directly impact them.
What will you personally bring to the board?
I believe that I have a strong sense of family and community that helps drive my passion to make my community the safest and best place to live. I have always been drawn to serve, help and volunteer. I love problem solving with the use of data and facts to help make thoughtful decisions. I feel that I am able to effectively communicate and work with many different people even when opinions may differ. I have earned respect and trust from others as they have seen my honesty, my integrity, my work ethic and my selfless nature by always trying to make things better for the entire group. As a Trustee for Orion Township I will continue to do that and make decisions for the best interest of the community overall.

 

Brian Birney
Family/Occupation: Kathy (wife) Kaitlin, Keira, Brian and Kilian.
President and CMO of The Birney Directive, President and Founder of Lake Orion’s American Summer.
Why are you the right choice for Trustee?
I’m an independent thinker, but know how to work with a team to accomplish tasks or problems. I’ve been selected as a member of the 2016 Elite 40 Under 40 for achieving excellence in my field and contributing to the quality of life in my community.
I have served in numerous leadership positions from my service in the Marine Corps (winning Marine of the Quarter twice), Race Director for the Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon, Marketing Director at the Detroit Media Partnership and Crittenton Hospital and now as President and CMO of my own company, The Birney Directive, Lake Orion’s American Summer and the Orion Area Chamber of Commerce. In every capacity I have excelled and made the organization or product better. I have managed or directed hundreds of people, including Marines.
What are some of the most important issues facing the township?
Safety and security is and will always be my number one priority. We must continue to build and enhance the Fire Department and our relationship with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department and Village of Lake Orion.
The balance of urban and rural living. We all enjoy new restaurants, stores and attractions, but not at the expense of why Lake Orion is such an appealing place to live. We need to work with and embrace new businesses, but find the balance of where they develop and how it impacts our community.
Innovation. We have an extremely unique community that should be taking advantage of it’s unique resources, while benefiting the citizens and businesses. We should encourage new events and gatherings like Lake Orion’s American Summer, which I’m the Founder of. We need to continue to embrace our culture and make Lake Orion better than it’s ever been.

What would you like to see the board/township accomplish in the future?
We need to continue to improve and become more efficient in all aspects of operations, remain fiscally responsible, continuously improve our community and always remember that safety and security is our number one priority.
What will you personally bring to the board?
Proven Success. I’m currently the President of the Orion Area Chamber of Commerce (second consecutive term) as well as President and Chief Marketing Officer of my own business, The Birney Directive. During my term as President of the Chamber, we have implemented a five-year plan, exceeding or accomplishing most of the goals in year two.
The Birney Directive continues to be successful, serving numerous local businesses in multiple industries, as well as contributing services to local non-profits and community organizations.
I have been selected as a member of the 2016 Elite 40 Under 40 class, which recognizes 40 professionals and thought leaders who live or work in Oakland County. The honorees have achieved excellence and contributed to the quality of life in their communities.
I’m a proud United States Marine Corps Veteran. While serving overseas, I won Marine of the Quarter, which was the second time I received this designation.