Councilman’s absence felt at first meeting since death

Published 9:36 am Wednesday, December 16, 2015

One by one, members of the Niles City Council took time out of Monday’s meeting to remember their late colleague and friend, Scott Clark.

It was the council’s first meeting since the longtime councilman passed away Nov. 27, at the age of 57.

A framed photo of Clark was placed on a table in front of the Niles native’s empty council seat.

Mayor Mike McCauslin opened the meeting by saying that Clark was a champion of the city and a champion of children.

A moment of silence was observed.

Councilwoman Gretchen Bertschy called Clark an “amazing man,” while Councilman Dan VandenHeede said the council would miss his passion.

Councilman Robert Durm said he would miss Clark, who he had known for more than three decades.

“We didn’t always see eye to eye, but I always respected his opinion because he always did what he thought was best for the city,” Durm said.

David Mann, who joined the council at age 20, said Clark was one of three councilmembers who took him under their wing.

“His presence in my life… has been nothing but positive,” Mann said. “He’s been a tremendous mentor to me. Anyone who knew him knew that he really did care about people.”

While Councilman Bill Weimer said he and Clark had their ups and downs over the years, he described Clark as very passionate.

“We always could agree in the end to disagree,” he said.

In recalling a trip to Florida she took with Clark to examine new fire trucks, Councilwoman Georgia Boggs described him as a champion for public safety.

“He wanted the very, very best for the firemen,” she said.

Councilman Tim Skalla extended his condolences to Clark’s family.

The mayor, who knew Clark for decades, said he enjoyed Clark’s unpredictable nature.

“It was fun because you never knew what was going to happen,” he said. “That was always exciting and I will certainly miss that.”

Also Monday, the council:

• Approved new five-year ground leases at Jerry Tyler Memorial Airport for James Thompson, of Niles, and Keith Mosher, owner of Astro Star Aviation.

• Re-appointed Penny Brazo to the Niles District Library Board for a three-year term; Appointed Sandra Mosier to a three-year term on the Board of Review; Appointed Mark Weber to the Niles Downtown Development Authority; and re-appointed James Furkis to a four-year term on the Niles Downtown Development Authority.

• Received an update on pending legislation that would change the way medical marijuana is grown, regulated and dispensed to patients in Michigan. House Bill 4209 was approved by the House in October and is currently in the Senate.

• Received an invitation to attend a community event at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Niles Senior Center that is being put on by Mt. Olive Baptist Church of Niles.