Kepes resigns as treasurer; Schostak considered
By Lisa Brody
Bloomfield Township Treasurer Brian Kepes submitted his resignation at the conclusion of the township board of trustees meeting on Monday, July 24, effective August 31, 2023 at 5:30 p.m., following 30 years of service to the community, in both appointed and elected capacities.
Kepes presented a letter of resignation to clerk Martin Brook, who read the letter into the record. Kepes was first elected the township's treasurer in 2016, after serving on the board of trustees from 2009-2016. Prior to that, he was a member of the zoning board of appeals, which he also chaired, from 1994-2009, and tax board of review, 1993-2009.
His term as treasurer, his second, ends in November 2024.
Kepes came into office as treasurer during a period of financial turmoil in Bloomfield Township, following the Great Recession and investment concerns and questions about fees in 2014 following a $80 million bond issuance, and whether former township treasurer Dan Devine and the investment advisory firm took the time to make sure township board members understood the nuances of the fees for the recommended investments. Township bond ratings fell.
Kepes was instrumental in the creation of an advisory township financial sustainability committee to work with investment firms – which Devine fought. Then Devine filed whistleblower lawsuit against Bloomfield Township and Supervisor Leo Savoie, which was thrown out in December 2015. Devine and Savoie had a contentious relationship, with Devine alleging at one point that Savoie could have “kidnapped” his missing daughter in May 2015, when she was actually at work.
Kepes was first unanimously appointed to the board of trustees in March 2009. He was elected to the board of trustees in November 2010, and then in November 2012. He is CPA by training, and runs a real estate and management company.
The township is now in excellent financial condition, with improved bond ratings, and Kepes said he feels ready to move on. Several board members seemed caught by surprise at the meeting, while others were sad yet wished him well.
Supervisor Dani Walsh asked attorney Mark Roberts what options they have going forward to fill the vacancy.
Roberts said they have three options: Thirty days prior to the effective resignation, or August 1, the township board can appoint a replacement, effective immediately on August 31, 2023 at 5:31 p.m. If not, he said, the next option after the resignation is the board can appoint a replacement at any time within a 45 day window.
There are no requirements for an appointment, he said, it is whatever the board wants. However, Roberts said, after 45 days of the effective resignation, the vacancy is referred to the county clerk and a special election is set. “The caveat is nominations for the position are set by the county political parties – they would choose the nominees, with no input from you,” he said.
“So the political party committees would choose who would be on the ballot,” Walsh said.
“Along with the cost of a special election,” trustee Neal Barnett pointed out.
“Kepes has significantly improved our financial position as a township,” Barnett continued. “We already have someone on the board who has the integrity, who knows the finances, has the qualifications, and that is (trustee) Michael Schostak.”
“I agree,” said trustee Stephanie Fakih. “He has big shoes to fill, but trustee Schostak would do an excellent job.”
“I agree. There is no reason we would want to let go of the process. Trustee Schostak is very qualified and has been on the board and knows the community,” said trustee Val Murray.
Schostak was asked if he would like to consider the position. “I would definitely like to consider it if I am offered the position,” he said.
It was determined that it will be a future agenda item, as well as to honor Kepes.
The person appointed or elected to fill the vacancy will serve the balance of Kepes' term.