NILES -- Unless something unexpected occurs, James Ringler's tenure as Niles Township treasurer will continue another four years.
The status of Ringler, the township treasurer the last 16 years, was clarified at Monday night's township board meeting when the board formally accepted a letter from John Engel declining the position. At a special board meeting last week, the decision was made to appoint Ringler to the post upon receipt of what might be considered Engel's resignation, even though he never officially held the office.
The scenario unfolded after Engel upset Ringler in the Republican primary election in August but withdrew his candidacy shortly before last month's general election. Despite his withdrawal, Engel once again prevailed over Ringler, who ran as a write-in, on Nov. 6.
Engel's only public statement was a comment in a previous letter to the board that he wasn't the best candidate for the job.
Also Monday night, the board voted to apply for a state grant that, if approved, would allow for demolition of the former Szucs Concrete and Asphalt recycling facility, 1430 Mich, 139, and a property at 3030 S. Third St. that's in the final year of the tax forfeiture process. Receiving the grant is likely a long shot, according to Supervisor Jim Stover, but receipt would eliminate blight situations, one on Niles' highly visible north entranceway.
The board also gave Fire Chief Gary Brovold and a committee of three permission to hire a new firefighter. The department has been short-handed, particularly after Robert Ruff recently left to become chief of the North Berrien County Fire Department.
Staff writer Lou Mumford: