By Mike Kruzman /

Livingston County Commissioners are split between candidates for an open seat on the Planning Commission.

At their regular meeting, Monday afternoon, the Board of Commissioners had the decision between 2 candidates, Fowlerville School Board Treasurer John Belcher, and Howell High School Principal Jason Schrock.

Board Chair Wes Nakagiri said they had several qualified candidates and he knew the choice would be tough. He said that, while being a part of the interview process, it was nice to see the quality of candidates brought forward.

When it came time to vote, Commissioner Doug Helzerman nominated both Belcher and Schrock, and then Commissioners each voted for their preference, with candidates needing 5 votes to win the seat. The nine member board was ultimately split 4-4, with Commissioner Martin Smith absent. Nakagiri, Helzerman, Jay Drick, and Brenda Plank cast votes for Belcher. Carol Griffith, Carol Sue Reader, Mitchell Zajac, and Jay Gross voted for Schrock.

County Attorney Rich McNulty said that they could make a motion to reconsider and vote again, but none was made. The appointment decision will come back to the Board at a future meeting when Smith is present.

County Administrator Nathan Burd told WHMI in an email that 5 candidates applied prior to the October 15th deadline, of which Belcher and Schrock were recommended by the Personnel Committee. There were two other candidates that had previously applied, but the County had reposted the opening in an effort to find a school administrative employee or a member of a public school board as recommended by the Michigan Planning Enabling Act.