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Ontonagon village president resigns

Before Monday’s Ontonagon Village Council meeting began, Gerard Waldrop informed a packed council chambers that he is resigning his position as village president.

“It is true I am residing over in Green, Michigan,” Waldrop said.

While a resident alleged that Waldrop has claimed residence in Green dating back to April 2 of this year, it was at the Aug. 26 meeting that Waldrop admitted to not being a village resident.

A question was posed about Waldrop’s voting history.

Doug Muskat, Ontonagon village attorney, questioned whether any of the votes that Waldrop made as long as the council had a quorum should be an issue.

In a three-page document that Muskat handed to the council and to the media, Muskat wrote, “Did the person keep a place of living in the village? In asking this, it is helpful to look at where the person kept their personal effects, where they sleep, where they receive mail. None of these are dispositive, of course.”

“I have paid rent through the month of August, I do have utilities to my name in Ontonagon,” said Waldrop before leaving the meeting. “All utilities in Green are in my mother’s name.  Both of our names are on the mortgage over in Green.”

Muskat’s written report also stated that if a person planned to return to that place of living in the village, such as when a person went on vacation, then he did not lose residency.

“Doug (Muskat) did ask if I planned on returning to being a resident of Ontonagon. The way it is looking right now, I don’t,” Waldrop said.

Waldrop, who successfully ran for the office for his first term under the name of Kenny Lee Waldrop, was re-elected for his second term.

During the Aug. 12 meeting, Waldrop was the deciding vote not to opt out of the village allowing a recreational marijuana retail businesses to locate within the village. The vote of 4-3, had members Sarah Hopper, Tony Smydra, Don Chastain, and Waldrop, asking that the option to allow a marijuana retail business to locate in the village be addressed at future meetings and passed on to the Planning Commission.

The specific ordinance allowing for a retail marijuana business has not been passed, but has been forwarded on for further discussion. 

Waldrop did not stay for the rest of the meeting, after handing the gavel over to the president pro tem, Tony Smydra.

Smydra stated that at the Sept. 23 meeting, the council will decide as to the vacant president position. Nothing was stated as to how the council will fill the vacancy of the council position after the new president has been appointed.

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