HOWELL – Councilman John Bonevich has formally declined his sudden appointment to the Howell Planning Board.
On March 16, Bonevich sent a letter to the Township Council in which he declined the appointment that was made during a council meeting on March 1.
Bonevich cannot resign from the Planning Board because he has not been sworn in to fill the open seat to which he was appointed.
During the March 1 council meeting, Councilwoman Evelyn O’Donnell, who was serving on the Planning Board as a representative of the governing body, announced she was resigning from the board due to a health issue.
O’Donnell then nominated Bonevich to fill the Class III seat on the Planning Board for the remainder of 2022.
Township Attorney Joseph Clark said a motion would need to be made, seconded and voted upon.
O’Donnell made a motion to appoint Bonevich to the Planning Board and Deputy Mayor Pamela Richmond seconded the motion.
Before a vote was taken, Bonevich said he would not have the time to serve on the board and would resign from the board if he was appointed. He said it would have been better to discuss the situation prior to the council meeting.
O’Donnell said the issue came up that afternoon.
On a roll call vote, the three Republicans on the council – O’Donnell, Richmond and Councilwoman Suzanne Brennan – voted “yes” on the motion to appoint Bonevich to the Planning Board.
The two Democrats on the council – Bonevich and Mayor Theresa Berger – voted “no” on the motion.
The 3-2 vote meant Bonevich was appointed to the Planning Board. However, he was never sworn in to serve on that body.
In his March 16 letter to the council Bonevich wrote, “I would like to thank the Republican majority on council for recommending me for the vacant Planning Board position. I appreciate their support and trust in my proven track record of helping to curb development and keeping Howell rural. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, I work during the nights of the Planning Board meetings. As such, I must decline the appointment.”
When asked for comment on the matter by the Tri-Town News, Clark said the decision to attend Planning Board meetings is up to Bonevich.
“The Township Council appoints the Class III member, which happened on March 1. So unless (Bonevich’s) resignation is accepted by the council and a new member is appointed, Councilman Bonevich is the official Class III Planning Board member this year. The decision to attend the Planning Board meetings is up to him,” Clark said.