Back at the table: McKinnon receives appointment to Kaliseum committee

Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

KALKASKA – Less than a month after leaving office, former District No. 2 Commissioner Stuart McKinnon is back serving the public.

At their regular monthly meeting Jan. 16, members of the Kalkaska County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted, 6-1, with District No. 6 Commissioner absent, to appoint McKinnon to a recently formed Kaliseum Construction Committee.

McKinnon joins commissioners Kohn Fisher and David Comai, as well as Department of Public Works director Mayjor Bole and Kaliseum Recreation Complex director Krzysztof Oliwa. Each is appointed to the committee through Dec. 31, 2019, with McKinnon serving as the “public at large” representative.

Fisher, commissioner for District No. 3 and chairman of the county board, said he realizes that McKinnon might not have been the most popular choice for the appointment but stands by his decision to nominate the former commissioner.

“I was challenged on this, that it was a bad decision,” Fisher said. “There was some negativity surrounding it.

“But, because we have so very little time to get the language together for a millage request, and that still seems the direction commissioners are heading, I didn’t have time to bring someone on board that was new to the issue.”

McKinnon was seeking his fifth term as the commissioner for District No. 2, which includes Coldsprings and Rapid River townships, when he was beat out by challenger Leigh Ngirarsaol in the Republican primary last August. Ngirarsaol then topped Democrat Fed Vonalt in the November general election.

While now out of office, no applicant for the committee could top McKinnon’s knowledge of the repairs needed at the Kaliseum, as well as the financial issues involved. Plus, Fisher said McKinnon would add a needed voice to the debate over what should be done with the county-owned recreational facility.

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