Why So Many?

At the last Board meeting, Commissioner Rubingh was the only Commissioner that was not allowed to sit at the big table. They had to get an extra desk off to the side for him. He looked like the older cousin, home from college, at Thanksgiving that is forced to sit with the snot-nosed grand kids. Why? There was no room, apparently. Maybe because of COVID protocols?

This brings up a question: Why are there so many commissioners?

Antrim County currently has nine commissioners serving on the Board. But, why? Why was the number set at nine? It is clearly arbitrary. Otsego county also has nine commissioners, but not everybody follows suit:

  • Kalkaska – 7
  • Charlevoix – 6
  • Emmet – 6
  • Leelanau – 7
  • Grand Traverse – 7

Clearly, having extra commissioners does not make the Board more efficient. Their meetings are marathon sessions, meant to liquefy the minds of any innocent bystander who happens to be watching. These marathons are filled with commissioners sharing their opinions on every bit of county business. Every agenda item means nine different voices have to be heard. It is important that each commissioner represents the interest of their constituency, but these meetings are also filled with hours of Board members just parroting eachother’s hot takes.

Would the County suffer from having fewer Commissioners? The current map of Commissioner districts is nonsensical gerrymandering that leaves some Board members with tiny districts. For instance, District 8 is made up of basically just the village of Mancelona and a small part of the township. District 4 is just Elk Rapids Township. Each commissioner represents a population of approximately 2600.

That is not much. It seems like anybody could handle a little bit more of a workload.

The only district that has any significant geographic area is District 7. But, that district is so sparsely populated, with huge tracts of unoccupied state land, that it may have more black bears than humans in it.

In addition, the Board is all about saving tax payer money, right? Well, guess what? Getting rid of a few commissioner seats means paying fewer people and providing fewer people with benefits. Do more with less!

Ditch the clown car.

In sum, fewer commissioner seats can result in cost savings for the tax payer, more efficient meetings, and a guarantee that everybody has a seat at the table.

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