(This story has been corrected to reflect the correct first name of Bethany Morris’ husband, Jason. I sincerely apologize for the error.)
The list of residents interested in filling the soon-to be-vacant seat of Councilman Kent Martinez-Kratz started with seven people, and the Chelsea City Council planned to interview six of them.
Tuesday night, that total of six became four when one candidate was forced to drop out due to a death in the family and another did not show up for his appointed interview time. This left Bethany Morris, Lynn Fox, Dustin Suntheimer and Jeff Blazok.
Up first was Morris, a social worker at the high school, who has lived in Chelsea for 7 years and recently purchased a home in the city with her husband, Jason, who also works in the school district.
Morris said in her letter to the City Council that she’s “always been impressed with all of the collaboration and coordination that this town offers its residents. There seems to be a cultural value in small town and helping our neighbors. I am proud to live and raise my family here.”
During her interview, she told the City Council that she’s always had an interest in public administration and in fact, she earned a second Master’s Degree in the subject. She said since purchasing a home in Chelsea she sees the city in a different way as she walks around the neighborhoods.
She praised the city for its high level of services and said she was especially impressed with the job that the Western Washtenaw Recycling Authority has done with its new single stream program.
Fox, who has served the city on the library board for many years, said she’s worked well with members of the then-Village Council and the current City Council during her tenure on the library board. She said her term is up at the end of December and she was not chosen for her current at-large position.
However, she was asked to serve on the Faith in Action Board of Directors and will begin that position in January.
Fox, who is unemployed, said she has the time to devote to the City Council and since the appointment is a short-term position, she’d like to see if she’s a good fit for the council.
Fox, who has lived in Chelsea since 1976, praised the electric department for the job it does and gave kudos to the knowledge and friendliness of staff in the city offices.
In her letter to the City Council she said, “I have been involved in the Chelsea community for many years and see this position as an opportunity to serve the citizens of Chelsea.”
Fox has extensive experience as a volunteer for a number of organizations.
Suntheimer moved to Chelsea in 2004 from Ann Arbor and has three children in the school district. He’s in sales and marketing for U-M’s Department of Pathology molecular cancer testing.
“My main interest in this position is to see Chelsea maintain its small-town qualities while keeping pace with the ever increasing demands of an ever changing society and to make sure my children, and those of all Chelsea residents, are safe and free to grow up in a great city,” he said in his letter to the City Council.
He said during his interview that it was important to him to give back to the community, whether as a council person or keeping the sidewalk clean or helping a neighbor.
He praised the City Council for “maintaining the city and the hometown feel,” while expounding on the gems in the city such as the Purple Rose Theatre, the Common Grill, as well as its festivals naming Sounds and Sights on Thursday Nights and Hometown Holiday.
Last up was Blazok, who is a newcomer to the city but said in his letter than “I see a ton of potential in Chelsea and I think I can bring a fresh and new perspective to this great city.”
The account manager for Bendix CVS moved to Chelsea from Minnesota, and served as a reserve officer of the Wayzara Police, according to his application.
He is currently a member of the Chelsea Fairways home owners association.
Blazok said he’d like “to look at the broad scope and see how the community could improve,” adding he’d like to learn more about the roads and infrastructure. He’s also interested in how the city is poised to deal with a natural disaster in the wake of the tornado that struck Dexter in March.
He said he comes from a family that believes in civil service, with a brother who has been both a firefighter and a police officer. He said he is impressed by the city’s police and fire services and the small town friendliness of the emergency personnel.
“I believe in getting involved and giving back,” he said.
Blazok said he was a salesman, and he wanted to be able to go home and tell his daughter “I did something good today,” and serving the city on its council would provide him with that opportunity.