Lincoln Park city clerk turnover creates election challenge

Photo by Sue Suchyta Appointed Lincoln Park City Clerk Kerry Kehrer will oversee the Nov. 6 election in which she is running for city clerk against former Mayor Frank Vaslo.

Photo by Sue Suchyta
Appointed Lincoln Park City Clerk Kerry Kehrer will oversee the Nov. 6 election in which she is running for city clerk against former Mayor Frank Vaslo.

By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers

LINCOLN PARK – Retirement turnover in the city clerk’s office has created an election experience gap, leaving the council to appoint a retiree to oversee an election in which she is a candidate.

When longtime City Clerk Donna Breeding retired in early September, Deputy Clerk Kerry Kehrer, 60, was running against former Mayor Frank Vaslo, 59, for the position.

However, to be eligible to collect her pension after working for the city of Lincoln Park for 20 years, Kehrer had to separate from city employment for 60 days. If she wins election to city clerk, Kehrer may take office and not lose her retirement benefits.

Kehrer started to work for the city of Lincoln Park in 1997, and since 2005 worked in the city clerk’s office. For the past five years, she served as deputy clerk.

Vaslo, who has experience as both an elected and appointed official, feels his experience with budgets, personnel, operations and the laws of the city make him an ideal candidate for what he believes should be a part-time as opposed to a full-time position.

Deputy City Clerk Jessica Martin said she lacks the experience to run an election like the one approaching Nov. 6 without experienced help. Following debate, the motion carried, with Councilmen Chris Dardzinski and Michael Higgins opposed.

Dardzinski reiterated his belief that Wayne County should provide election personnel so Kehrer is not overseeing an election in which she is a candidate.

(Sue Suchyta can be reached at sue.suchyta@yahoo.com.)