Niles man enters race for Bertrand supervisor

Published 9:12 am Friday, April 18, 2014

A former defense subcontractor, college instructor and real estate professional has filed to run for the position of Bertrand Township supervisor in the August primary election.

Bill Givens, 76, a Republican, will run against Republicans Mike Gillette and Steve Hicks, who was appointed to the position in February 2013. Others still have an opportunity to file until the filing deadline of 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Bill Givens

Bill Givens

The winner of the November election will take office Nov. 20 and serve a partial term expiring on Nov. 20, 2016.

Givens said his main objective as supervisor would be to get more community participation in local government. In an effort to do that, Givens recently sent a questionnaire concerning Bertrand Township issues to township residents.

“Some people don’t want anything to do with politics and government and that’s fine, it’s their choice,” he said. “But if we are making decision about planning and zoning and neighborhoods, taxes — all those things concern everybody.”

Givens also wants to cut salaries for all township officials, minus the clerk.

“If you are going to serve you are going to serve,” he said. “I’m not going to give it all away, but I think there should be a 20-25 percent cut.”

Although Givens has no experience serving as an elected public official, he said

he has experience raising money and completing projects for various service organizations and boards.

“I am a doer and I love to see others succeed,” said Givens, who has lived in Bertrand Township for about 10 years.

Career highlights include running real estate companies in multiple states and working as a subcontract administrator for several large businesses, including Rockwell International and General Dynamics. He also worked in purchasing in Mishawaka, Ind., and Elkhart, Ind., before teaching at Indiana University South Bend.

Now retired, Givens said he has the time to devote to the position.

“I’m qualified and I’ve got the time to do it,” he said.

Givens earned a Bachelor’s Degree in business at Indiana University.