Archived Story

Former Niles Township treasurer to run for supervisor

Published 4:57pm Tuesday, March 27, 2012

It’s official.

Former Niles Township Treasurer Jim Stover is back in town and has his eyes set on the township supervisor’s post.

After consulting with an “exploration committee” consisting of family and friends in the area, Stover has announced his candidacy for Niles Township supervisor.

He will run against the current supervisor, Jim Kidwell, in the Republican primary in August.

Stover, who served as a township trustee from 1974 to 1978 and treasurer from 1978 to 1996, most recently worked as treasurer for Plainfield Township in Kent County.

Stover said he is pursuing the township supervisor role because the “timing is right.” At 72, he recently retired from his full-time position in Plainfield Township.

The part-time Niles Township supervisor role isn’t as demanding and is enough to “keep busy,” he said.


Stover also received encouragement from family and friends to consider a run at the post.

He is pursuing the position at a time of some disunity among board members, most notably between Kidwell and Jim Ringler, the township’s treasurer. But Stover said he believes he has what it takes to find common ground among board members.

“I believe I have the leadership abilities to keep the board intact, and we will have consensus on those issues that are most important to the township,” he said.

Stover said he will have an open-door policy with township employees and residents and will encourage governmental transparency.

“First of all, we have to be open to hear what the citizenry is telling us,” he said. “We must be willing to listen and constructively put a plan together to evaluate their concerns.”

In order to facilitate community discussion, he would hold quarterly meetings with business owners and monthly coffee meetings with residents.

Although Stover was urged by friends and family to run, he said he doesn’t have any “ties or debts to anyone.”

Stover said the biggest issues facing the township in the coming years is the development of the 11th Street corridor and the development of the Indiana-Michigan River Valley Trail.

  • Mark

    Of course Mr. Stover will be able to hold “the board” in tact, he is one of the good’ol boys!! Old time friend and former colleague of Mr. Ringler! Mr. Stover your committee of family and friends may want to check the REAL pulse of the township! But my hat off to you for using a typical political ploy of making the constituents of Niles Township think that you have support! Good show by a true career politician!

    I have many concerns with Mr. Stover’s statements to the press. First he stated that he recently retired, he left his seat, he abandoned his post before his term was over, that isn’t retirement! Also he stated that being a Supervisor isn’t demanding. That is quite the statement to make! How much effort does he plan on putting into this position? Basically his idea is to sit back and let his good friend Mr. Ringler run the show like he did for many years.

    Again I have a major question about Mr. Stover. What really is his motive? Besides the concerns listed above, what is his agenda? If it was really to come back to Niles to serve the community why not come back and run for Treasurer? Isn’t that where his supposed skills are? Niles Township doesn’t need any more good’ol boys who sit back and use the Township to fund their retirement! The Township needs strong leaders that are willing to stand up for the citizens of the Township and what is in the Township’s best interest, not their own personal wallets!!

  •!/kbtonkin Kevin Tonkin

    Be sure to support Stover and keep up with his effort to win the supervisor’s position at!/pages/Elect-Stover-Niles-Township-Supervisor/307634549293946

  • cat59

    Support Stover I think NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I am with Mark on this.Its time to get some new blood in there.Except for Kidwell.

  • Buster

    At age 72, you would think it was time to enjoy retirement. It does beg the question of ‘why’, regardless of what he told the reporter. Age must not have came up in the exploration committee. Kevin, are you Jim’s campain manager? I will not vote for him. This is for opinions, not to tell people who to support. Your dislike for our current supervisior has tainted your once independent voice.

  •!/kbtonkin Kevin Tonkin

    Tisk, tisk, I am astonished you would discriminate because of Jim’s experience Buster! Find us a person willing to truly serve “full-time”, all the time, who is not retired, willing to earn less than minimum wage or has another full time job and not be at the hall (as promised and not just say so in a campaign). No, I am not Stover’s campaign manager. And, when did you become the Star’s monitor for what can be posted on their blog?

  • Mark

    If Kevin is supporting Stover, that is all the better reason for me NOT to!

    Although Kevin, I am glad that you made the comments you did about the type of Supervisor that the Township needs. Niles Township does need a dedicated leader working full time! Mr. Stover has made it clear that he is going to be a part time Supervisor. We currently do have a non-retired full time Supervisor!! You of all people should know that you can’t be a diligent Supervisor from the Township Hall! So how do you get your assumptions that our current Supervisor is not full time? Do you follow Mr. Kidwell around the neighborhoods while he is talking with residents? Do you attend all of the various meetings to know whether Mr. Kidwell is present or not? Are you at the township hall daily? Before you make accusations you better have facts to back them up!!

    If we are talking about Mr. Stover’s experience, shouldn’t we be looking at him for a Treasurer then? How does his experience as a Treasurer make him an experienced Supervisor? Mr. Stover has been motivated to run by his good friend Jim Ringler! That speaks volumes!

  •!/kbtonkin Kevin Tonkin

    LOL, one would expect as much from your support Mark. I don’t see where Stover is going to be a part time supervisor only that the job is considered as one. To answer your other questions, perhaps there are those who work at the hall, those who do business at the hall that testify as to who is there and who is not? When I do go past the hall, I don’t see lights on in the supervisor’s office most of the time. I’ll admit that he might be out and about but we have people who should be doing that and the supervisor’s role is one of management and delegation. If the supervisor is attending every meeting, going everywhere then maybe it’s doctorial in nature or he just wants to do everything and be everything?

  • dylan_c22

    Seriously Mr. Tonkin, why do you have so much hatred towards Kidwell? Would you care to share that on this blog? Just because you do not see the supervisors vehicle at the Township Hall, does that mean he is not doing Township Business? How many times a day are you actually driving by there? I suppose with your logic he should be running a business from the Township Hall like Ringler is so it apperas as if he is conducting township business. You always try to post some comments on here like you are just the all-knowing master of knowledge on the township business. Its ridiculous how you jump other peoples comments when they make a comment of wishing people would post factual or at least relevent posts, not just lies and half truths. your reputation on these blogs speak for you. You are correct, we can all post whatever we want. There are no “rules.” There is something called credibility, Mr. Tonkin, and that is something you have managed to damage on these blogs.

    Lastly, who is the supervisor supposed to “delegate” to do some of the things he does? You want him to just sit in the office all day hoping and praying things get done in the township? That certainly worked real well for the past supervisor, didn’t it? I myself am in management and I am sorry to break the news to you, but a successful and respected supervisor does not lead from behind a desk.

  • madison

    If you get the board “in tact” does that mean all members will vote unanimously and wouldn’t that mean they aren’t thinking for themselves to vote what is best for the township? I prefer to have different opinions with different ideas and reasoning that will create open minds instead of Ringler having the issue decided before the meeting begins.

  •!/kbtonkin Kevin Tonkin

    Gee guys, I dont hate Mr. Kidwell any more than you hate Ringler (maybe a bad comparison) and I am not running for the job. Stover will be a better supervisor is all I am saying. No one minds Mr. Eull running for clerk but I know why but, what if he ran for supervisor? would you then? I’d support him over Mr. Kidwell too.

  •!/kbtonkin Kevin Tonkin

    And is there a good reason all of the above wont run for a seat? Maybe I’d support you too. But then we’d need to know who you are, wouldnt we?

  • Dave Fisher

    Just a couple questions and an observation or two. Does the current full time supervisor have another full time job? If so what kind of hours does it entail? Does he have an active interest in a business as well? When is it and how often does he sleep?

    I know at one time Jim K. worked overnights on the PD and has been an officer for some years. Is that job often entail making solo decisions followed up by solo actions without consultation of others? It has to be kind of nature of the job and would explain some of the “public interactions” in my eye.

    Don’t go trying to label me a Hatfield or McCoy here folks! Just asking questions and wondering if all the swamis that can seem to read peoples minds and actions so eloquently can help me out.

    If NTWP were to have the police dept. Jim K. has advocated on several occasions would he serve on it and possibly retire off of it collecting benefits?

    Some have made reference to the past supervisor? If memory serves quite a bit of commercial expansion, job creation, and municipal improvement occurred on his watch. Things that improved the economics as well as the quality of life for all residents. He knew that both experienced and unexperienced people working together in harmony got projects done.

    Obviously current economic conditions added to the hostile political environment of late doesn’t make for big progress of any kind even in better economic conditions. People with past experience (Eull & Stover) must feel the need to step up at the present time or they probably wouldn’t.

  • Mark

    Mr. Fisher, I can appreciate your questions and the tactful way you have approached the concerns. I would like to share some of the reasons why I support Mr. Kidwell and have such distaste for the former board members. You mentioned that you saw growth and expansion with the last Supervisor. I heavily question the type of growth that we had!

    If my knowledge serves me correctly, Mr. Tonkin has mentioned several times himself that Mr. Myers was not really managing things due to his health and therefore Mr. Ringler had somewhat taken on the role of both Treasurer and Supervisor. That is coming straight from a former board member. During this time, Mr. Ringler did have many expansion projects. One was Long Meadow, which also if memory serves me correctly he had realtor signs in front of for many years. Personal interest? Conflict of interest if you ask me. The expansion of infrastructure (sewer namely) was done without any type of escrow account set up, no real way for the Township to recoup the money if something should fail with the development (which it did!), and thus the Township was left holding over a $400,000 bill. I believe the hope is that eventually the money will be regained through tap-in fees, but how many years do we have to wait to see that come to fruition? As many may know there is another development out that way called the Morris Farm project, which Mr. Ringler is also the realtor or at least broker of. Again major conflict of interest! As I understand it there is in question right now an issue of Mr. Ringler “loaning” township money to the owners of Morris Farms to have wells dug to see if there was enough water present to support a housing development. I will admit that I do not have all the information for this case, but I do believe that there is an investigation currently underway. This is the same Morris Farms that Mr. Ringler harassed our Zoning administrator about when she wouldn’t change some of the details of the property he was trying to sell.

    As for the 11th street expansion, this was a good thing for the Township, I don’t deny that. However, I do know that there are many businesses that struggle to pay the astronomical price it cost to tap into the new water supply. Does this really help growth? You will notice that there isn’t much movement with realty along the corridor, unless you want used car lots!

    As to the municipal improvements and job growth (really?) you will have to give me examples because I personally don’t see any. It has been business as usual for far too long! Quality of life is questionable too. To what are you referring? I know that I personally have had blight issues around my neighborhood for many years and not one single time did anyone from the township come out to take care of the matter. Mr. Kidwell has put into place an actual ordinance official. I can’t say all blight has been cleaned up in the Township, but my neighborhood looks better, that is an improvement in my quality of life!

    Your questions about Mr. Kidwell are interesting. You seem to also be along the lines that you somehow know Mr. Kidwell’s day-to-day schedule. I suppose we should be looking at all of the elected officials and questioning where they are at throughout the day. Everyone seems to be so worried about the time that each puts in. I do know that I see Mr. Kidwell’s yellow truck at the hall throughout the day, I can’t say the same for the other officials. Then again they both have full time deputies working under them making over $55,000 a piece when you include their fully funded Health care package. That is besides their “office secretary” that makes over $60,000 with her fully funded Health care package and other benefits like retirement. Budgets are posted, does anyone really look at this stuff and ask questions?

    The only hostility I see coming from the Township is the fact that Mr. Ringler’s dishonesty and temper are starting to surface due to the fact that Mr. Kidwell is not just brushing it under the rug, which is exactly what Mr. Stover will do as they are friends. What a better way for Mr. Ringler to take control of the township again and leave Mr. Stover with a nice retirement!!! I might support Stover if he would run for Treasurer, you know where his supposed expertise lies, and try to de-thrown the tyrannical Mr. Ringler.

    Lastly, regardless of Mr. Tonkin’s claims that most of the work was done prior to Mr. Kidwell coming in, EASTGATE IS DOWN!!! If you want information about the timeline get your facts, talk with Mr. Dunlap our building administrator and find out of Mr. Tonkin speaks the truth.

  • dylan_c22

    Actually, “Vern”, your comment about being mind readers is pretty comical. It appears to me that most members of the Kidwell Haters Klub are the ones that seem to be reading minds. I never once heard Kidwell say he was going to “serve on a Twp PD.” He was going to manage it and not get paid anymore for doing that. Thats what a Supervisor does. Anyway, the PD issue is all that keeps being talked about. The Sheriff is doing a pretty decent job, and not many, including Kidwell, has said that he was not. It’s always just been a conversation of cost. Its a pretty large amount, but that’s what we have.

    This all sum’s up to a few things. Ringler is desperate because he has some serious integrity issues starting to hit him. He has managed to dodge and deflect many for a while, but only so many half-truths can be made before the REAL truth is discovered.

    I am STILL waiting for someone to give a reason of what Mr. Kidwell has done that is so bad. He speaks the truth has raised some concerns, and has called people out when they are shady. Is that a bad thing in government? Do the people in the Township really want a Supervisor, or any other board member, to hide the truth from the public? That is the main question here. If the voters want a secret Township government, then Kidwell will not be re-elected. If they want open, honest, and transparency, then Kidwell will be reelected. I am hoping we all vote to keep the Township government open to the public, and keep Kidwell in office.

  • Dave Fisher

    Ah, where to begin? First I guess if you want people that work for let’s say fast food industry’s wages you should probably expect similar results. Don’t get me wrong as every job has it’s capabilities and commensurate wages but, I don’t think I would want people with responsibilities as the folks that work in the TWP office to make what a burger flipper does. Much larger consequences exist there than say a few extra pickles may entail.

    I have better things to do than track how much time who spends where and the last time I checked it wasn’t a state secret that Jim K. works the third shift as an officer of the law in the city. A job I have the utmost respect for as putting oneself on the line is something few have the moxie to do. I’m simply pointing out that the stress and responsibility of that ONE job alone is a handful and hats off to the guy for wanting to bare the brunt of another. It’s just in my opinion, policing and politics may share some skills but they require unique abilities to excel in both. I don’t care if they guy is there a half hour a day if things are getting done and things run smoothly. It just doesn’t appear that’s the case at times.

    Now I haven’t researched some things to the degree that you apparently have, I would wager if you checked the tax rolls before and after Mr. Meyers was in office they increased in both residential and commercial values quite a bit. Listen to out of towners who come to Fireman’s park and express admiration for the facilities we have. The SAFE and updated equipment well cared for grounds. The way local folks treat them. That’s some of what I call quality of life. The majority of park improvements in the last 10 -15 years can be attributed in my book, to Bill Meyers, Dick Noble and Joe Hullet. Three great guys with abilities and foresight few appreciate.

    Pretty much anybody that knows me knows where I spend a large quantity of my time and that is at local ballparks with local kids. It’s very rewarding to believe that one may have a positive impact and maybe even channel a kids future such as they may too someday be civic minded in the “what’s in it for me?” attitude they are exposed to every day of their life. It may also in some small way curb some of the tendencies exhibited here by some who spew the terms “hatred” “agenda” etc. that may be letting personal feelings override knowledge or fact.

    If there are issues with Jim R. and there are investigations, lawsuits, etc. going on those things will take care of themselves and be resolved. Now there is a fine line that must be held between personal and governmental business and it could be along a slippery slope at times for sure. Yet, some of the blanket judgements placed on anybody that has ever served with him is in my opinion, in very poor taste and shortsighted. I’ve interacted with most everybody at the township on many levels and I don’t buy some of the hysteria some folks are trying to spread.

    Now for Kevin Tonkin, while I may not always agree with his views I admire his ability to speak his mind aas well as attach his name to it. Now some may say “What’s with Vern?” Well some of the folks around here toss the term “vendetta” around. It’s been my experience that those types usually make it a practice and the only way to hurt me would impact kids or possibly programs that would effect them so being anonymous with views here seemed best.

    What’s your excuse?

    Dave Fisher

  •!/kbtonkin Kevin Tonkin

    They hide in anonymity “Vern” like bullies and thugs they are.

  • dylan_c22

    @kbtonkin….hahahahah… I am a bully and a thug, because I wish to keep my identity a secret on here. Talk about some extremest thinking. Wow. So be it. Maybe I should wear a “hoodie” while walking in your neighborhood so you can gun me down and and claim I didn’t reveal my identity to you and that I don’t agree with your way of thinking. Same type of logic. It’s a frickin blog, man, not an official legal document. If someone wants to reveal there real name, fine, if not, that is their business. Didn’t realize it made you better than everyone else. Agreed?

  • Dave Fisher

    Let’s see, someone disagrees with another’s methods and they are a hater?

    The former supervisor sat behind his desk and hoped and prayed things got done? Developing brain cancer probably did take a little wind from his sails but to state he accomplished and did little the whole time he was in office?

    The supervisor candidate is running so he can sit back and his buddy the treasurer can really run the show? Yeah, mind readers.

    Mark? Who are the “former board members” you carry so much disdain for?

    What does it cost to tap into the the water in the city?

    What do the folks get paid who work in city hall? Just for something comparable.

    Does on the job experience matter?

    Have any of the posters here other than Kevin ever served on a governing board of any entity?

    So if someone doesn’t agree with Jim K’s modes and methods they are a “hater”? (Hatfield or McCoy eh?)

    “It’s a frickin blog, man, not an official legal document”
    You can say about anything on here truthful or not eh?Agreed!

  •!/kbtonkin Kevin Tonkin

    Yep Vern, bullies and thugs. No different than the supporters of Bashar Assad trying to suppress the will of the Syrian people. It all started before the 2008 election with the dissolution of the police department. But there are only a handful of them as you can see in the star blogs. The same ones who write in the other papers and news sites under different names. We know who they are – brothers, cousins, daughters of just a few who do the dirty work of their leaders. The same ones who write and attack others for expressing their opinions. All they say is it is a lie in their mind and it becomes the truth. Then they say their blog is for them only and not for supporting someone other than their candidate. Hypocrites too Vern, hypocrites. This article was only about Stover running for Supervisor – not hating Kidwell until they starting their attacks again and again. Will it end? I pray so!

  • dylan_c22

    I believe the point that Mark was trying to make about the Deputy Treasurer and Deputy Clerk and secretaries was not the amount they are paid. The point is the treasurer and clerk both have FULL TIME people working for them, as well as an office secretary. The Supervisor attempted to appoint a deputy supervisor to help him out, and everyone freaked out. OK, sure, it is his daughter. She gets paid NOTHING! She has no decision making powers. She just helps the Supervisor.

    The cost to “tap-in” to the city’s water/sewer is not relevant. The point was the TWP paid over $400,000 for Longmeadow water, which was supposed to be paid back, and now the TWP has to depend on “tap-in” fee’s to cover.

    The amount the city pays their city hall workers is not relevant. That pay was not the point.

    On the job experience matters little. That thinking is what causes career politicians. Never a good thing.

    I have not ever served on a “governing Board on an entity.” My employer does not allow it. Have served on boards in regard to my profession.

    Yes….ANYTHING can be posted. I have always backed up my posts with facts. Stuff that is public knowledge if you go ask and look for it. I can’t say that about some of the others.

    And Vern, I agree, Firemans Park is a gem. Those responsible for that deserve the credit. I am glad it improves your quality of life and I appreciate your dedication to our areas young ones. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it impacts the majority of the Twp tax payers. That is something that has to be kept in mind. Riverfront trail is the same way. It will improve many people’s quality of life, but not everyone’s. So does the Twp step up and support it or not? The rhetoric I have heard is that we don not need it and it has to be donated funds. I don’t think that should be the answer either.

    So again, tell me again what the current supervisor has done inappropriately to not deserve to be re-elected.

  • Dave Fisher

    If what people are paid isn’t relevant why was it posted complete with dollar amounts?

    How many FULL Time people do the similar work in the city?

    Do they receive benefits?

    You reading Mark’s mind now too?

    I don’t believe some of you folks have a clue as to what all is done on a regular basis. I also believe folks like Stover, Eull, and the CURRENT board members do.

    “I do know that there are many businesses that struggle to pay the astronomical price it cost to tap into the new water supply. Does this really help growth?”

    How else does the TWP recoup the costs of extending the water/sewer anywhere? Sounds like what was done at Longmeadow was no different than what was done on S. 11th.

    I wonder if Mishawaka paid for extending the water and sewer in Knollwood or Grape rd area before the area was developed? It’s probably some of the first work done. Who paid for that? I’m sure all the folks over there paid for that BEFORE they built their house or business there eh? Like I said CLUELESS!

    Seeings how we have Jim K. being a full time officer for the city, supervisor, and now managing another police dept. too (for no additional cost) Let’s say God forbid, one of the crackheads, drunks, wife beaters, what have you, somehow gets the upper hand or Jim accidently gets killed or mortally wounded. Then what? Now who runs the police dept. for nothing? Stuff happens.

    Just how does the parks and such improve your quality of life or the majority of taxpayers? Well lets say little “Susie” instead of standing on 2nd base at Fireman’s is in the backseat of little “Johnny’s” car. One he picked up from one of our many used car lots. Well Johnny hits a “home run”, if you get my drift. The next thing ya know they are only eight shy of a starting lineup!

    There are complications and the baby needs thousands of dollars worth of medical care and the kids are broke. Hmm who pays for that? I’m guessing the MAJORITY of the taxpayers in the end. That’s just one example do we need more?

    While who ever is scanning the posted budgets and such, find the line named “Professional Fees” or lawyer costs. Now go back and compare to before Jim K. took office. Any difference there?

    Don’t get me wrong here. Whenever somebody new comes into a job there will be mistakes, hell even experienced folks make errors. I call it the “baptism under fire” element.
    These tend to increase or decrease depending on how one approaches and remedies situations or problems. I would wager Jim K. has learned quite a bit from his time spent in office and he would probably be the first to admit to that fact. I just believe there might be some others who may have learned some of those lessons already.

    Vote and support whomever you want, I would just ask, for the benefit of everybody you might step back a little and think before making statements that blame or incriminate others without looking at the big picture.

    Dave Fisher AKA “Vern”

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