Vacancy filled on Grayling City Council
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
I do think part of that will come if we have a good vision and let people know what that vision is. I just truly want to get people working together, then we can accomplish much more. It’s going to be all for the greater good in the end.” – Mark Allen, Grayling City Councilman
A relative newcomer to the City of Grayling was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Grayling City Council last week.
Mark Allen was appointed to fill an open seat on the Grayling City Council on Monday, Jan. 9.
The vacancy was created when Erica Mead, who came in second in the Nov. 8 general election with 258 votes, opted not to take the oath of office to fill the position. Mead owns property in the city where she lived, but is no longer spending 100 percent of her time living in the community.
Allen is the director of auxiliary services for Kirtland Community College’s Health Sciences Center in Grayling, which includes running the bookstore, the grill, and conference center. He has been with the college for 18 years.
Allen’s wife, Susie, is an academic advisor for Kirtland Community College.
The couple has three grown children: Danny, Cody, and Sarah. They opted to move to Grayling from West Branch to avoid the hour long commute to the new college campus located just south of Grayling. With the addition of the conference center, Allen said his job now entails some night and weekend commitments.
The couple searched throughout the region before deciding to purchase a home in Grayling, and moved here eight months ago.
Allen said he was impressed with a number of city residents who have stopped by and greeted the couple, and the volunteer groups working on various projects for Grayling.
“It was really nice feeling, so we feel we made the right choice,” he said.
Allen has dealt with township, city, and county officials as he worked for his family’s business, Larkin Food Center, a general merchandise store based in Midland that also carried hardware and lumber.
As a new resident to Grayling, Allen said the application process to fill the vacancy on the Grayling City Council sparked his interest to serve the community since he did not have to rely on winning an election.
“With only being here for eight months, there’s not going to many people here that would know me and to have to win an election would be difficult,” he said.
Heidi Farmer and Dee VanNuck were the other applicants for the vacancy.
Allen said city officials need to look at everything fairly, be fiscally responsible, and know that they are working for the residents.
Since Allen has no ties to individuals or groups on the community, he believes he can fulfill those tasks.
“I’m not on that board trying to make other board members happy or I’m not on that board trying to make city employees happy,” he said. “I’m on that board because I’m representing a bunch of people in the city.”
Allen said Grayling needs to set a vision for the community, mapping out goals that can be accomplished over the next five, 10 and 15 years.
“We need to proactive and not be reactive,” he said.
Finally, Allen said he would like to be part of local officials and organizations that work together cohesively to move Grayling forward.
“I do think part of that will come if we have a good vision and let people know what that vision is,” he said. “I just truly want to get people working together, then we can accomplish much more. It’s going to be all for the greater good in the end.”