The Special Awards of Merit are given to recognize outstanding leadership and service to the League and municipal government. George Basar, Pat Capek and Curtis Holt are recipients of that award this year.
George Basar, police chief in Howell, is always there when called on by staff, especially when it comes to revenue sharing efforts.
Since 1995, Pat Capek has been a tireless supporter of the League as councilmember and former mayor pro-tem from Cedar Springs. She has been and continues to be a vocal cheerleader for continuing education and the Elected Officials Academy program.
Curtis Holt has served as the city manager for the city of Wyoming since 2000. Curtis has supported the league on legislative issues for many years. His leadership was instrumental in the recent Legal Defense Fund Consumer’s Energy rate case.
The Legislator of the Year Award is for lawmakers that continuously support the League on issues and legislation to benefit local communities. This year the award goes to Senator Deborah Cherry (D-Burton), Representative Andy Coulouris (D-Saginaw) and Representative Paul Opsommer (R-DeWitt).
Senator Cherry has been the most vocal proponent of revenue sharing in the entire legislature. She pushed amendments the League advocated for in the Appropriations committee, which would have guaranteed additional funding. In addition to revenue sharing we have worked closely with her on the transportation funding.
Representative Coulouris has been a strong supporter of cities during his time in the legislature. He has assisted the League with revenue sharing efforts, talking to his leadership about minimizing proposed revenue sharing cuts, and working to get the restoration of those cuts out of the House- which was successful.
Representative Opsommer, an active supporter of the League, introduced legislation to amend the Urban Cooperation Act last session. He also worked with the League on a bill last session to grant core community tools to rural townships.
The Michael A. Guido Leadership and Public Service Award was created to honor a chief elected official who personifies professionalism and leadership.
Mayor Al McGeehan, of Holland has received this distinguished Award. It’s not easy to follow in mayor Guido’s shoes but if anyone deserves this award it is mayor Al. Staff can call on him at the last minute (and I have) to present a program for newly elected officials or to testify at the Capital. He’s always there and happy to help. In addition, in his role as Michigan Association of Mayors President, he has served as a mentor to mayors across the Michigan.
The Jim Sinclair Exceptional Service Award was formed to celebrate tireless advocates of local government and continuing training for elected officials. There were two recipients of the award this year, each of whom is active in furthering the cause of educating elected officials so that communities may benefit from the education and experience that their elected officials have gained.
The first recipient, Carol Sheets, mayor of Wyoming, was one of the first people that I met when I started at the League. She was part of a group of officials that met with my department to discuss a credentialing program for elected officials. That program then became the Elected Officials Academy. Right away I could see the passion that Carol had for service. Carol went on to serve as an EOA board member and president, and was in the very first class of graduates in 1997.
I got to know LaVern Dittenber, mayor of Au Gres, and his wife Alvinia at a Mayors Summer Workshop in 1998. They are the sweetest couple whom are compassionate about their life’s work. LaVern believes that part of his duty on earth is to give back. He believes that every elected official should be educated so that they can do the best possible for their community and state. LaVern has been a constant presence at League activities for many years. He has been very involved in the Elected Officials Academy, having obtained the highest level, Level 3, and to put it simply, LaVern loves the League, which is what the spirit of the Jim Sinclair Award is all about.
A former League president and councilmember in Madison Heights, Margene Scott, received the League’s highest honor, an honorary life membership. We are thrilled that Margene has received this award. Not only has she been very active in the League since joining the council in 1993, but she has always appreciated the League and its staff and has never failed to mention and show that appreciation. From participating in Michigan Women in Municipal Government events, to attending Michigan Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials meetings, Margene is always there to support the League and its affiliate organizations, with her husband Jack following close behind her.
Thanks to all of the 2009 award recipients for your years of service and for helping to make our jobs as staff easier!