OSCODA – Vying for four seats on the Oscoda Township board of Trustees are Republican incumbents Timothy Cummings and William Palmer. Newcomers on the ticket include Republicans Jeremy Spencer and Steven Wusterbarth. Democrat Rozanne Ursula Curley is on the ticket. Not running are Trustees James Baier and Martin Gayeske. Spencer did not reply to our request for answers on this form.
Timothy L. Cummings, 56, Oscoda Trustee, Republican
Timothy L. Cummings is an incumbent Oscoda Township Board trustee seeking reelection. He is an Oscoda resident since 2008 and has two daughters.
He has worked as technical project management, data security, and management consulting for Fortune 500 companies. T. L. Cummings, Inc. since 1994
Cummings is a graduate of Southfield-Lathrup Senior High School of Lathrup Village. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science Engineering from Michigan State University with minors in Business Administration and Sociology
Cummings has been a trustee since 2016, and was given a Toys for Tots Commander’s Award for financial donations. Supported anti-drug initiatives and drug education in schools.
“During the past two years, while a trustee, I volunteered over 200 hours of project management time toward the township hall network recabling and phone upgrade projects (completed in Spring 2020) as well as defining the Wi-Fi pay-as-you-go service for Old Orchard Park (tentatively scheduled for Summer 2020). He is not endorsed by a political action group.
Rozanne Ursula Curley, 70, Oscoda trustee, Democrat
Rozanne Ursula Curley is running for Oscoda Township Trustee under the Democratic ticket. She is an Iosco resident of 45 years and has a son and two grandchildren.
Curley is a retired teacher of 32 years in Oscoda and is currently a part time healthcare worker and holds a Bachelor of Science with Political Science studies
Curley also served for 12 years as the chairperson of the Iosco County Democratic party, was an Ausable River Canoe marathon volunteer 15 years, and a former Oscoda Lions member
Her other accomplishments including the Glennie Lions Outhouse race winner 10 years, recipient of Governor Engler’s Golden Apple award for exceptional student performance on MEAP test, member Michigan Educators Association, Need Our Water member, 25 year member American Legion Auxiliary, former volunteer at University of Michigan hospital Pediatric Intensive Care unit, founder St. Vincent thrift store of Mikado, member Sacred Heart Catholic church.
She is also an experienced political campaign organizer and is not endorsed by any political action committee.
Steven Wusterbarth, 53, Oscoda trustee, Republican
Steven Wusterbarth is running in the primary for a seat on the Oscoda Township Board of Trustees. The Republican has lived continuously in the township since 2011. He is married to Cathy Wusterbarth and has two children and one stepchild.
Wusterbarth is currently the vice president of marketing and business development for Mitsubishi Chemical America (MCA). Four and half years with MCA. Over 31 years of employment in engineering and executive management roles with major tier one suppliers within the Automotive Industry.
He earned his high school diploma at Marion High School, in Marion, Ind and earned a bachelor of science in engineering from Purdue University. He was also a previous Oscoda Township Trustee and member of the township planning commission.
Wusterbarth was also a Cub Scout and Boy Scout Leader, Youth Football Coach Knights of Columbus member and held various roles for Catholic schools and Catholic charities fundraising activities. He is a member of NOW (Need Our Water), Alcona-Iosco Cedar Lake Association, Lakewood Shores POA, former Twin Eagles POA Vice President, Save Our Water member, Iosco Flying Club, Iosco Sportsman Club, Mississinewa Valley Corvette Club and Detroit Athletic Club member. He is not endorsed by any political action groups.
William Palmer, 71, Oscoda Township incumbent
William Palmer is an Oscoda Township incumbent trustee. He is a resident of Oscoda since 2014 and is married to Eileen Palmer, has four children and four grandchildren.
Palmer is retired, and is the former president and CEO of Palmer & Sons Enterprises, Inc. from 1980-2014
He is also a graduate of Kearsley High School from the class of 1966, and graduate of the University of Michigan in 1978
He is currently on township board as a trustee and was appointed to board in May 2016 and then elected in Nov. 2016, also on the Planning Commission by appointment in Nov. 2015.
He is also a member of the Oscoda lions Club and recently served as president.
What prompts you to seek election at this time?
Cummings: “I believe my unique education, experience, and business qualifications have proven beneficial to Oscoda since I joined the board as township trustee in February 2016. Serving as township trustee has been an honor and responsibility which I have not taken lightly. I would like to continue my service with the support of Oscoda voters this August 4th and November 3rd.”
Curley: “I have been encouraged by community members to put my past experiences and knowledge into action for the benefit of our township. I am a passionate lifelong, member of this community only wanting the best for us. I know community involvement is the foundation of change.”
Palmer: “When I was originally elected to the board one of my goals was to try and move the Township forward, it seemed to me that the township had pretty much been ‘treading water’ since the A. F. Base closed (1993). In the last two years with the hiring of our new superintendent, Dave Schaeffer, with his knowledge and enthusiasm for all things Oscoda, and the hiring of our new Economic Improvement Director, Todd Dickerson, we are beginning to see interest from developers and builders to move our township forward and I would like to be part of that effort.”
Wusterbarth: “The current township board needs to be focused on growth initiatives, infrastructure and revenue growth of the tax base and have strong partnership with business owners. Simply, there is too much bickering and not enough action. Also, I’m very disappointed with the trustees. They have not exercised their oversight authority enough with their fiduciary duty to the taxpayers. One major example is the former Downtown Development Authority (DDA) situation that was exposed by the Supervisor in 2018. The inaction of the trustee’s at the time has left the Township with additional debt and other liabilities that should have not been allowed. In my mind, the inaction of the board at the time was unlawful and a violation of their oath of office. I believe that the public does not understand the extent of th situation and they should be provided the facts including the people involved in it. This example is a travesty and an additional burden to the taxpayers of Oscoda Township that should have not been allowed to happen.”
What do you hope to accomplish if elected?
Cummings: “My list of local issues evolves throughout the 4-year term. My campaign website (www.TimothyLCummings.com) explains my position on my current list of issues across such categories as budget, environment, health, rural broadband, and other topics.”
Curley: “It is my hope to bring a fresh and positive attitude to the board.”
Palmer: “The things I am hoping to accomplish would be to work for further development in our township. As mentioned in the previous question, also when I originally came on the board we had a II Part-time community center much of the problem was it was a building we received from the Air Force and was not of appropriate size and structure and cost a fortune to maintain. We have since sold that building and it is my desire to have a new community center in combination with a new hall, fire dept. and police dept. all of which are in desperate need of expansion.
Wusterbarth: “A higher level of professionalism within our local governing units, develop a welcoming community for visitors and economic development, enhance partnerships with our business owners, county and state entities and create more openness with the general public with our local government.”
What is your top priority, if elected?
Cummings: “We’ve depended on State profit sharing to supplement the township’s budget. We’ve been told this revenue will be drastically reduced in 2020 due to COVID. I foresee my top priority will be to work with the township board and superintendent to navigate Oscoda through difficult financial decisions.”
Curley: “My top priority will be to ensure the community feels we have been elected by them and they are being fairly represented.”
Palmer: “I guess if I had to pick one top priority it would be the serious problem many of our residents face concerning clean drinking water and the contamination in our lakes as it relates to PFAS coming from the former base. I have worked very closely with our Supervisor Arron Weed and the NOW (Need Our Water) group. The township does not have a lot of leverage against the Air Force so we have focused our efforts on our legislators and EGLE (formerly DEQ) and we have put in place a plan to extend water mains so that residents can have access to clean water, as I write this we are just finishing up Phase 2 of the water main expansion with Phase 1 already complete. Our plan calls for approximately 10 more phases which we are diligently working on to get the financing to complete. I would continue to work toward that goal.”
Wusterbarth: “Growth of the community.”
Would you support increased taxation and mandatory fees? If so, under what circumstances?
Cummings: “If money needs to be generated, whether by a Special Assessment District or millage, I want to see it put to a vote by the residents.”
Curley: “I would only support increased taxes after a thorough review of the current spending habits of the township. I believe we need to review the current tax revenue for the township in whole and the spending before any increased taxes be discussed. In short, we need to be smart with taxpayer money.”
Palmer: “In general I am opposed to increasing taxes however I do support having residents vote on certain millage. We are going to have to raise our sewer and water rates since they haven’t been raised significantly in 23 years and our system is in need of significant and expensive repairs and updates to keep the systems functioning properly.”
Wusterbarth: “Additional taxation should only be acted upon after all measures have been investigated to mitigate the need for it. We need to be prudent with our revenue streams and spending initiatives. I will use my experience managing budgets in excess of hundreds of millions of dollars to responsibly manage our township funds. Government needs to be treated as a business and not as a bottomless well of money. “
If elected, would you face conflicts of interest which might preclude you from participating in all functions of the elected office due to personal relationships, contracts, employment, et cetera? If so, please describe the conflict and how you would address it.
Curley: No conflicts.
Palmer: No conflicts.
Wusterbarth: “No conflicts exist at this time.”
What would you do to make your township a better place for its residents?
Cummings: “Our residents need good paying jobs. We need to do everything we reasonably can to improve our competitive position as the best choice for a horizontal launch space port. Advice recently given by its municipal advisor, who served as the township’s bond counsel years ago, tells us Standard & Poor looks to ‘review audit, budget, pension, investment policy, capital improvement plans, and other such documents.’ Companies evaluating Oscoda as a potential business location, whether involved in aerospace or not, would also review these documents. Oscoda needs a board with experience commensurate with the size of companies we’re looking to attract to our community to create future growth.”
Curley: “Applying my experience and knowledge of the community to the board. They have lacked historical information when discussing and approving major plans.”
Palmer: “I think the things I have listed previously would make our community a better place but one example that I mentioned is the expansion of business in our township and that includes our entire township, including the M-65 corridor. I have been on the lET (Iosco Exploration Trail) committee for several years and when completed would run from Mill Street and US-23 along River Road to M-65 and down to Hale, I believe this should afford business development in that area.”
Wusterbarth: “I am a professional that views the running of this community as a business. I would apply my decades of experience creating and developing successful businesses to Oscoda Township. This will result in a thriving and enjoyable community for residents and visitors.”
How would you address the perception by many residents that their voices are not being heard by county, state and federal officials?
Cummings: “While I do meet with residents about current topics, I encourage everyone to pick a topic, learn about the issue, and get involved. I believe everyone’s voice counts. I’m committed to understanding the needs of our community and making your voice heard. As a trustee empowered by the board’s decision to allow me to represent you at Air Force Restoration Advisory Board meetings, I’ve made your voices heard directly by the assistant secretary of the Air Force, and our state and federal representatives. On topics that involve Iosco County, such as dismal EMS response times, I have used my voice to make sure our collective voices were heard.”
Curley: “Our state is so diverse between cities and rural areas the differences should be emphasized to other levels of government. I believe that the government should start at the local level and move upward.”
Palmer: If People feel their voices are not being heard at the state or federal level I would encourage them to contact their legislators by phone, mail or email they do listen if they are contacted. In terms of the county level would encourage residents to attend the county board of commissioners meetings I have attended a number of those meetings and there are usually fewer residents in attendance than we often have at our board meetings. I would always be happy to speak with anyone who has a question about anything involving our township. Social media is a wonderful thing but what I have noticed is that often times there is a great deal of misinformation floating around out there, before people get too upset about something happening at the township board level that has been put on social media con