OUR VIEW: New leaders usher in new year

Here we are half through the first month of 2017, and new leadership has taken over.

Our U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman and state Rep. Curt VanderWall have already taken their oaths of office, while President-elect Donald Trump will do the same later this week.

On a local level, new faces took charge at the beginning of the calendar year.

Pauline Jaquish and Margaret Batzer are new to their seats on the Manistee County Board of Commissioners.

New to Manistee Area Public Schools Board of Education are Daniela Thomas and Dale Sparks. Onekama Consolidated Schools swore in new members Daniel Behring, Steven Brooks and Samuel Cantanese. Ashley Gutowski and William Edmonodson joined Kaleva Norman Dickson’s school board for the first time.

Manistee City Council named a new mayor for the first time in about five years. Council member Erin Pontiac was elected to a full term, while council member Dale Cooper is newly elected.

Two figureheads who have also started the new year in new positions are sheriff O’Hagan and undersheriff Ken Falk.

What’s unique about this duo is that the pair ran against each other in the race for sheriff in 2016.

“When we were running I don’t feel it was about us, but it was about the sheriff’s office and community,” said Falk. “It was about the sheriff’s office being a benefit to the community and to bring this office to the next level.”

With the friendship O’Hagan and Falk have, we have no doubt they will bring the sheriff’s office to new highs.

The community certainly stands to benefit from the pair’s more than 50 years of experience in law enforcement.

With O’Hagan’s 28 years at the Manistee County Sheriff’s office and Falk’s 25 years of service, it brings a wealth of experience and familiarity with the community to the top two county law enforcement positions.

We wish both sheriff O’Hagan and undersheriff Falk good luck in their new positions, as well as the new county commissioners, city council and school board members who have our county’s best interests at heart.

As 2017 progresses, the News Advocate hopes that those in office will remember the promises made to voters and their reasons for running. We hope our elected officials will be true to their word, and that 2017 will only improve upon the great things that were started in 2016.

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