Niles Charter Township Supervisor resigns after 21 days

Published 10:00 pm Monday, November 7, 2022

NILES CHARTER TOWNSHIP — Niles Charter Township’s Supervisor is stepping down 21 days after taking the role.

The NCT Board of Trustees unanimously approved Township Supervisor Jim Curran’s resignation Monday night during its meeting. 

“Please accept this letter as my resignation from the position of supervisor, effective Monday, Nov. 7,” Curran wrote. “I am truly sorry this did not work out and I hope you find a very well-qualified candidate to fill the position.”

Curran, who also serves on the Berrien County Board of Commissioners as the 11th District Commissioner, was appointed Niles Township Supervisor Monday, Oct. Oct. 17, succeeding Jim Stover who resigned earlier this fall due to poor health. 

According to Township Treasurer Jim Ringler, Curran resigned after deciding that he could not serve the roles of Township Supervisor and County Commissioner simultaneously because contracts the township has with the county would create a conflict of interest.

Curran sought legal counsel prior to accepting the role to determine whether or not he could serve both positions at once and believed he could until it was brought up again. Niles Charter Township contracts with the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office, its information and tax systems and more.

“It’s not something that you can say ‘I’ll just excuse myself from the vote.’ You can’t do that; he’s required to vote,” Ringler said. “There are multiple contracts we end up having with the county. So after we checked again with our attorneys, they said we just have too many contracts.”

Ringler said Curran had to choose to resign from his role as township supervisor or from the board of commissioners and resigned from the township due to his years of experience with the county board.

According to his bio on the Berrien County website, Curran is a retired Michigan State Police Detective Sergeant assigned to fire investigations and is retired from his privately owned and operated fire and explosion investigation firm and is active in many service organizations in the Niles Area. He formally served on the Brandywine School Board where he had held various offices including president. 

“It’s disappointing,” Ringler said. “I think (Curran) would have done a very good job; his heart was in it but he chose to stay at the county level. It’s hard to ever tell but I think he would have been an outstanding Supervisor.”

The township board has 45 days to appoint Stover’s replacement. The individual appointed to fill his vacancy will serve two years before being voted on officially in the 2024 general election.

The board encouraged community members to submit a letter of interest along with qualifications for being a supervisor to the township and approved a submissions deadline of Monday, Nov. 21. The board will then schedule a special meeting to interview candidates who submitted information. 

“I don’t think the interviews will be exhaustive,” said Trustee Herschel Hoese. “I think it’s inclusive. If the residents of the township put an application in, I think they deserve to be heard out in an interview.”

Leaning on experience

While the absence of a township supervisor is taxing for township officials, Niles Charter Township has been able to lean on the board of trustees’ experience to continue the day-to-day operations within the township.

“As a supervisor of a township, you become the point person,” Ringler said. “Whether it’s complaints or whatever, there’s definitely a good reason to get another supervisor in place as soon as we can. Most of the members of this board have 20, 25 or 30 years of experience. So it’s not like we haven’t doing  some of this over the years.  “We’re just doing the best we can.”