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Kolinski appointed to fill Schostak's trustee seat

By Dana Casadei


Chris Kolinski was officially appointed to the Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees at their meeting on Tuesday, September 26, filling the vacancy left by the appointment of Michael Schostak to the treasurer position.


“I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve, as well as continue to serve Bloomfield Township,” Kolinski told the board during his three-minute presentation. 


During the board of trustees meeting, eight applicants – nine were listed in the board packet but one applicant did not show – spoke for three minutes to the board, on whatever they choose to, which ranged from why they decided to apply to criticism of the board’s work and personal stories about why Bloomfield Township means so much to them. 


Many of those who spoke to the board made it clear that they were not coming to this open position with any kind of agenda but as residents who truly wanted to help the township, no matter whether they had lived their decades or only a few years. 


Those new to the township, such as Margo Cargill and Czara Venegas, may not have had the decades of familiarity with the area that others did, but both spoke with passion about moving the township forward, bringing backgrounds that have taken them all over the world and using what they’ve learned to do just that.


While a few trustees did mention that they could see the value in getting someone new, others noted they wanted someone familiar with the township and the role to fill Schostak’s seat, with an added bonus for anyone who had prior experience on Bloomfield Township boards and committees.


“For me, when we’re appointing somebody… I’m looking for their connection and involvement with the township, those experiences are important to me,” said trustee Neal Barnett. 


Schostak agreed, mentioning that he wanted someone who had lived in the township and understood its nuances, someone who truly understood the issues and all it would take to be a public servant for the township, an area of work Kolinski is no stranger to.  


Public service is something that Kolinski has been drawn to, and he mentioned the need he felt to serve while working at Ernst & Young was too strong to ignore. He would soon leave the world of finance – which he majored in at Oakland University – in favor of night school to become a paramedic before becoming a career firefighter, a career he’s now worked in for over a decade. 


Kolinski also comes from a family of public servants and grew up in Oakland County. His father was not only a Vietnam veteran but also was a firefighter for over 27 years, and his mother was an elementary school special education teacher.


His former career in finance, as well as a treasurer position with the union executive committee, puts him in a unique position for upcoming negotiations for when many of the township’s union contracts expire in the next few years. 


“So I think somebody who sits on our board, who has sat in a room during negotiations, and has actually sat on the other side of the table, would not only be a strategic advantage for our township, for our board, but for our unions as well,” he said. 


The board of trustees agreed that he would make an excellent asset, taking over for Schostak, who was sworn in at the Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees meeting as treasurer on Monday, August 14, after the resignation of now former treasurer Brian Kepes, was officially, and unanimously, accepted by the board. The board unanimously voted to appoint Schostak to replace him. 


After the applicants’ presentations, the board used a ranking system similar to one they’ve used in the past, with each board member ranking their top four candidates, giving a four for their favorite, a three for their second, and so fourth.


There was close to zero debate about their selections once revealed outlaid into the record, with many noting they were quite encouraged by not only the sheer number of applicants, but the diversity among them. 


“This is a really good position to be in,” supervisor Dani Walsh said about how many applicants there were.


Trustee Valerie Murray noted when she ran in 2020 there were nine candidates for four positions, so this type of turnout was great to see. 


After totaling their rankings, Kolinski was the favorite for four board members, earning him 21 points in total. Ed Ford followed with 12, then Paul Stoychoff and Venegas each earned seven points, respectively.


There was discussion about doing another round of voting to eliminate anyone who wasn’t one of the four above, but Barnett said that given the spread by which Kolinski had won, there didn’t seem like much point in another round – their new trustee had clearly already been selected.


While only one spot was available to be filled on the board of trustees, multiple board members encouraged those who had applied for the trustee position to apply for other boards within the township, including the two roles that will now be vacant with Kolinksi officially joining the board of trustees. 


He formally served as chairman on the township's board of review and was a member of the financial sustainability committee, two positions which are now vacant. 

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