Wayland appoints Kramer as new city council member

Virginia Ransbottom, Staff Writer

Joe Kramer, who recently retired from Wayland EMS after serving more than 41 years with the ambulance service, received four of five votes from the Wayland City Council on Monday, July 2, to fill the remaining term of Tracy Bivins.

Bivins cited personal reasons for stepping down during her third council term that expires in November. Her last day was June 18.

Kramer was appointed to serve her remaining term. He said he would be running for the seat on the November ballot.

Wayland’s council—in Bivins and Tim Rose’s absence—conducted interviews of three candidates prior to the council meeting when they took a paper vote and appointed Kramer.

Other candidates were Abe Garcia and Jeff Salisbury.

Garcia has worked with DTE Energy for the past 28 years where he is a supervisor. He is serving his second term on the planning commission and frequently attends council meetings after moving to Wayland in 2014. He said the community has been welcoming and he’d like to be more active as a voice and steward of its citizens. He will also be running on the ballot in November for a council seat.

Salisbury is a retired teacher at Wayland High School who has served on the board of education, planning commission, library board and city council. He said he was not considering running on the ballot for an open seat but offered to be among the pool of folks available to serve on a short-term basis.

Mayor pro-tem Jennifer Antel said before voting on an appointment that the council could not make a bad decision.

Council member Lisa Banas agreed. “All three are amazing candidates and all would be a good choice for the council.”

Three council seats will be expiring in November, including the terms of John Sloan and Tim Rose as well as Bivins. Mayor Tim Bala’s seat will also be on the ballot.

Kramer said his motive for participating in city affairs was community service.

“It’s the next natural step for me in my community service after not being on ambulance duty anymore,” he said. “I like to know what’s going on in town, the city has done some great things with a lot going on and will have some great plans going into the future. I want to be involved with that.”

He said as a council member he would research both sides of an issue to make an informed decision—not just take the popular side.

One of his top priorities was to prepare for growth, while residents and businesses in the City of Grand Rapids push their way to the suburbs. Public service, public safety and public works would be the most important service to provide because it affects residents on a daily basis.

Upcoming concerns, he said, would be roadwork for South Main Street and infrastructure, including the sewer system possibly taking on the casino if service is pushed to Bradley.

Kramer has also served 25 years with the Boy Scout program and numerous years with the schools’ athletic program and said that keeping areas for youth to play ball was important, too.

Kramer will be sworn in at the next council meeting July 16, at 7 p.m.


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