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Village Government Back In Business After 15-Day Stall

November 10, 1988

COPEMISH, Mich. (AP) _ The garbage didn’t get picked up, but that was about as close to anarchy as things got during the 15 days this hamlet had no government, the village president says.

Now back to full strength with the addition of four new Village Council members, Copemish can resume paying its bills, plowing streets when it snows and taking the trash off its 294 residents’ hands, Village President Elizabeth VanHorn said Wednesday.

″Things are shaping up terrific now,″ she said.

Government in the village nearly 105 miles north of Grand Rapids came to a standstill Oct. 13 when four members resigned, leaving the seven-member council short of a quorum and unable to transact any business.

Before the four quit, the council approved payment of October’s bills. But the sudden lack of a quorum left VanHorn and remaining trustees Emmet Moore and Wynott Clapp scrambling to put a new council together.

The trustees, who checked with the village attorney and Gov. James Blanchard’s staff, learned they could appoint a fourth member who would join them in naming three others.

The alternative was to conduct a special election, but VanHorn said it couldn’t have been held until early December. During a special meeting Oct. 28, residents said they didn’t want to bear the cost of an election and didn’t want delays - particularly with winter approaching and village maintenance worker Gary Collins off the payroll, VanHorn said.

Advertisements posted in Copemish’s two or three stores prompted five villagers to apply for the four vacancies at the Oct. 28 meeting.

VanHorn, Moore and Clapp appointed Floyd Phillips to one of the seats. The four then named John Leffew, Patty Scarbrough and Ethel Currie to serve until the next scheduled election in March 1990.

The fifth applicant, whom VanHorn declined to name, was passed over because she had just registered to vote for the first time and was deemed too unfamiliar with village government.

″The board (also) appointed a new president - yours truly,″ VanHorn said. The new council holds its first regular meeting tonight.

Besides concern about snowplowing, residents also missed Collins when he wasn’t available to pick up their trash. But Copemish coped in his absence.

″They stored it in their garages or wherever they could,″ said VanHorn.

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