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Schostak named treasurer, leaving trustee opening

By Dana Casadei

As of August 31 at 5:31 p.m. Bloomfield Township will have a new treasurer, township trustee Michael Schostak.

Schostak was sworn in at the Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, August 14, after the resignation of current treasurer Brian Kepes, was officially, and unanimously, accepted by the board, and the board unanimously voted to appoint Schostak to replace him.

Kepes didn’t say much, noting that while it’s been a pleasure to work with them all – and that he would say more at a later meeting – this meeting was about the township’s future. 

Supervisor Dani Walsh did have a few things to say though, noting Kepes’ three decades of service, putting his whole heart into his work for Bloomfield Township.

“Your impact is seen not only in the changes you have made but on the impact you have made to the investments that put us in a better position, even in a global pandemic, but also with the many hours you spent with the residents, employees and board members reaching out to you for advice. You’re doing what many athletes and musicians dream of but simply don’t do, you’re going out on top,” Walsh said.

The board then considered the appointment of Schostak as treasurer, something he accepted. The rest of the board sang his praises, noting his impressive financial background and his character among other reasons why he would do well in the position.

Schostak was first elected to the Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees in 2016, and then overwhelming reelected in 2020. He currently serves on the election commission and as a trustee of the Retiree Healthcare Benefits Trust, and is the township’s representative on the Bloomfield Historical Society board of directors.

His background in finance extends far behind his time on the board, where he’s worked in a variety of roles in finance, including as principal of Schostak Capital Advisors since 2014. He earned his MBA from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor of Science in Economics, with concentrations in finance, management and real estate from the University of Pennsylvania.

“I can’t imagine that we have a more qualified candidate,” trustee Valerie Murray said.

“He's a gentleman, he's respectful, he enjoys working with people with different opinions and bringing them together, but always in a respectful manner,” said trustee Neal Barnett. “He understands the culture of the township having been part of the board for a number of years.”

After a vote 5-0 to elect Schostak to the new position, with Schostak and Kepes abstaining, he was sworn in by township clerk Martin Brook.

Schostak’s two children had the loudest cheers in the room.

While the decision to appoint Schostak as treasurer was a simple one for the board of trustees, what happens to his open seat on the board is going to take a bit more time.

Brook made a motion to discuss the options for how to replace Schostak’s soon to be open seat, which passed.

Township Attorney Derk Beckerleg laid out the options for the board. The first option was to accept applications or resumes for those who want to be considered for the spot, and conduct interviews if so desired, something the board has done the three other times this sort of vacancy has occurred on the board over the last 20 years. The last time this was done was 2011. Brook suggested the board invite applicants to a board meeting to be interviewed after they’ve turned in their applications. 

“It would really give you the chance to see the whole person,” said Walsh about letting applicants speak at a board meeting. 

If the seat is not filled within 45 days – which would end on October 15 – then a special election would have to occur, something the majority of the board opposed.

Due to state law, a special election would permit each political party in the county to submit a nominee, leaving the board without the ability to pick the candidate. A special election, officials said, could cost over $100,000.

“This special election would be like no election we’ve ever seen,” clerk Brook said. “I’m not comfortable in that type of election environment for replacing folks.”

“I agree with you, one hundred percent,” trustee Neal Barnett said. “It’s more important that we have people who represent the township, who live here, who know us, and not having parties making decisions.”

A rough deadline was put into place for candidates to get their applications in, and on Wednesday, August 16 the board’s plan was put into action.

They announced the vacancy on both the Bloomfield Township social media and website, where those interested can see the qualifications for trustee and a list of questions each applicant is required to have a written response to. 

Applications for the position must be received by the township clerk’s office no later than 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 20.

The board will then have applicants introduce themselves to not only the board but the community at the trustees meeting on Tuesday, September 26. Each applicant will get three minutes to speak.

From there, the board will review all applicants and select a person to appoint before the end of that 45-day time period.

Whoever takes this seat on the board will be expected to fill the remaining term through November 2024.


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