Crawford County Treasurer Joseph V. Wakeley will retire from position on April 30
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
For the second time in nearly four months, a panel of county officials met on Monday, Feb. 11, to plan to fill a vacancy for a Crawford County elected official.
Crawford County Treasurer Joseph V. Wakeley submitted a letter to Crawford County elected officials on Wednesday, Feb. 6, giving them a formal notice for his retirement. His last day as treasurer will be Wednesday, April 30.
Wakeley has overseen the county coffers for over 46 years, and is the longest serving treasurer in the State of Michigan.
Wakeley began serving as the county treasurer on Jan. 1, 1973 after winning the primary and general elections in 1972. At the time, Wakeley was the youngest county treasurer in the state at the age of 24.
“Someone once said find a job you like and you will never work a day in your life,” Wakeley wrote in the letter. “That has been my experience for the last 46 plus years.”
Wakeley has just under two years left on his unexpired term.
Wakeley highly recommended the elected officials appoint Kate Wagner to fill the unexpired term as the Crawford County treasurer. Wagner has served as the chief deputy treasurer since February, 2004.
“In that capacity, she knows almost all of the day-to-day operations of both her position and mine,” Wakeley said. “Kate is extremely competent and works well with our customers, taxpayers, and all other department throughout the county.”
On Monday, Chief Crawford County Probate and District Court Judge Monte J. Burmeister, County Clerk Sandra Moore, and Prosecuting Attorney Sierra R. Koch opted to take applications to fill the vacancy.
Moore said local officials set a precedent at a meeting held on Sept. 24 of last year, when they were considering the process of filling the vacancy for now retired Crawford County Sheriff’s Kirk A. Wakefield. Ultimately, the county officials unanimously voted to appoint Undersheriff Shawn M. Kraycs to serve as the next county sheriff at a meeting held on Friday, Oct. 12.
Kraycs was the lone applicant who submitted his resume to fill the vacancy as the county’s top cop. Wakefield had two years left on his unexpired term.
Applications will be taken for a three-week period, and must be submitted to the Crawford County Clerk’s Office by 4 p.m. on Friday, March 1.
The county officials will meet immediately after the deadline to review applications.
Wagner submitted a cover letter and resume to apply to fill the vacancy on Monday.
If no one else applies for the position, Wagner will be appointed. If others apply, additional meetings will be held to review the applications and interview the applicants.
“If we have more than one, that would probably dictate the time we have in terms of when that meeting will be set,” Burmeister said.
Wakeley recommended county officials meet and make their decision as soon as possible, which will allow someone to be interviewed and hired to serve in deputy treasurer’s position and training could begin before his retirement.
Moore agreed with that process.
“The sooner that we get someone appointed, then we can hire the deputy and move forward on this,” she said.
Wakeley pointed out in his letter regarding his retirement that Wagner filled both positions in the treasurer’s office when he was out several years ago on a medical leave.
“She is not afraid to attempt new tasks and take on responsibility, something truly needed for person in the treasurer’s position,” he said.
Wakeley added that appointing Wagner would provide a smooth transition for the treasurer’s office, other county elected officials and county employees.
“Kate truly is up to speed on the treasurer’s office procedures and would ensure continuity and stability from day one,” Wakeley said. “We have used a team approach together in the past 14 years and I know Kate will provide leadership to the county, her fellow officials and employees in the years ahead.”
Wakeley said it has been his privilege to serve as the Crawford County treasurer for over four and a half decades.
“I am humbled that so many people – voters, residents, property owners, and all the other folks I have worked for – have supported me during this tenure,” he said.