Meet the Candidates: Cathy Shaughnessy
During the countdown to the Aug. 7 primary, Patch is bringing you profiles of the candidates running for office in West Bloomfield.
Attended Wayne State University
West Bloomfield Township Clerk, 2008-present
My husband Tom and my daughter Colleen, a recent graduate of the University of Michigan.
Activities or key endorsements you'd like to mention?
I’m a member of the Township Road Committee, working to improve our roads. I’m a member of the Election Commission, making sure that our elections are run well. I’m a member of the West Bloomfield Optimists, the Friends of Parks and Recreation, the Friends of the West Bloomfield Library, the Oakland County Clerk’s Association, the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks, and the International Institute of Municipal Clerks. I’m also a member of the Greater West Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce and the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce. I’m a member of The West Bloomfield Lakes Area Democratic Club and have been involved with the Oakland County and Michigan Democratic parties. I have received the endorsement of West Bloomfield Citizens for Professional Government.
I enjoy the support of key community leaders and many residents.
Why are you running for clerk?
I have made many changes to the clerk's office since first being elected in 2008. I have reorganized the office, saving taxpayers more than $450,000 since 2008. I have made several technological improvements to how elections are conducted in the township. We were one of the first clerk’s offices in Oakland County to implement the electronic poll book, improving voter check-in at the polls. I have stressed open, honest and accountable government by greatly expanding the amount of township information available to residents on the clerk’s page of the township website.
As the chief financial officer for the township, I have made similar technological improvements in the finance department. We have implemented key software upgrades and improved on financial reporting procedures. I want to build upon these positive changes to maintain the professional atmosphere in my offices. I head the committee that got Orchard Lake Road repaved in my first year of office. I have led the effort to stop fractional drilling under our lakes and streams. I also spearheaded the first of its kind ordinance in Michigan banning the sale and possession of synthetic marijuana known as K2 in West Bloomfield.
Do you have new ideas you’d like to suggest for the position or township?
I’m working to improve the township’s website, making even more information available to the public. I believe the more information we provide online will reduce the time and expense of fulfilling Freedom of Information Act requests.
I want to work with state, county and local election officials to find new ways to improve voter turnout and access to the polls. The use of improved technology is already happening in elections. I think that the clerk should serve as an instructor to the voters on how to use the new technology.
We need to better utilize our IT resources to help better manage the township. There are several software applications designed to track resident concerns as they come into Town Hall. I would like to see that software implemented here to improve customer service and drive greater efficiencies in government operations.
I helped save thousands of dollars by re-negotiating the car wash contract for the township vehicle fleet. I want more open bidding for goods and services as a way to help save taxpayers even more money.
I serve on the Road Committee, working to get our fair share of road money from the county Road Commission. I want to make sure that the road commission treats us fairly and doesn’t impose unreasonable traffic plans on our citizens. We heard loud and clear opposition from the residents about a potential roundabout at Maple and Orchard Lake roads.
What do you think are the biggest issues facing the township? How would you handle them?
We have faced challenging economic times with the past few years of declining property values. Like every other community in Michigan, we have experienced a significant reduction in revenue because of that decline. We have found greater efficiencies to maintain our existing level of services. We need to maintain our infrastructure despite our financial challenges.
Preserving our excellent quality of life by protecting our environment is crucial. We must prevent any oil or natural gas drilling under our lakes and streams. We must be vigilant in seeking our fair share of road dollars from the county Road Commission.
Keeping government operations at Town Hall honest, open and accountable is vital to preserving the trust of the people in their government.
What do you think are the key responsibilities of the clerk's office? How would you fulfill them?
State law prescribes many of the key duties of the township clerk. First and foremost, the township clerk is the chief election official of the community. The clerk controls all election activities. I have a record of accomplishment during my term in office for conducting efficient, open and fair elections.
The clerk is also the person responsible for all township records and, as such, serves as the person in charge of responding to all Freedom of Information Act requests. The clerk is responsible for issuing a variety of permits, including for garage sales.
The clerk’s office also serves as a passport acceptance agency. The clerk acts as the risk manager for the entire township, dealing with all insurance issues. The clerk also serves as the chief financial officer, controlling the entire finance department. Not only have I fulfilled these responsibilities; I believe that I have made significant improvements in all of these areas.
Who else is running? Meet the candidates for the West Bloomfield Township Board Patch has interviewed so far:
- Supervisor: Michele Economou Ureste
- Supervisor: Jonathan Warshay
- Clerk: Cathy Shaughnessy
- Clerk: Neha Patel
- Treasurer: Teri Weingarden
- Treasurer: Gene Farber
- Trustee: Howard Rosenberg
- Trustee: Steven Kaplan
- Trustee: Larry Brown
- Trustee: Al Zara
- Trustee: Hartley Harris
- Trustee: Jeremy Kaplan
- Trustee: Tom Pustelak
- Trustee: Diane Rosenfeld Swimmer
- Trustee: Gerald J. Sukenic