Six new Commissioners elected to office; incumbent MacInnis returns for third term

The seven-member Emmet County Board of Commissioners will have six new members beginning Jan. 1, 2017. Emmet County is divided into seven geographical Commissioner districts, with a Commissioner representing each district. Terms are two years.

Below is a brief look at each of the Board members elected in the General Election on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016.

District 1
(Wawatam, Bliss, Carp Lake, Cross Village, Readmond, Center, McKinley Townships)

Toni Drier

toni drierToni Drier has been a resident of Emmet County since childhood. She and her family live in McKinley Township.

“I am proud to say I am a resident of Emmet County and I look forward to working with many of you as a new County Commissioner. With the support of my five children, three wonderful sons-in-law, four beautiful grandchildren and my husband, I will stay positive and keep moving Emmet County forward.  I do believe we can find solutions to many of the issues that we are facing and I look forward to finding those solutions.”

Drier replaces long-time Commissioner Jim Tamlyn, who did not seek re-election. Drier defeated Fred Kindell in the August Primary and ran unopposed in the General Election.


District 2
(Pellston, Pleasantview, West Traverse Township areas)

Neil Ahrens

neil-ahrens-picNeil W. Ahrens, 52, is a resident of West Traverse Township. He is a fine artist-painter. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honors from Michigan State University and his Masters of Fine Arts in Painting at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills.

He has served in the past on the West Traverse Township Planning Commission as Vice Chair; is a past Master of the Petoskey Masonic Lodge and served as a U.S. Navy Veteran, Petty Officer. Ahrens is the Facilities Manager of the Petoskey District Library. He has been married to his wife, Liz, for 15 years.

“I am honored to have been chosen to represent the 2nd District on the Board of Commissioners, and look forward to serving Emmet County,” Ahrens said. “I hope that I can inspire more citizens of Emmet County to get involved and work with their elected representatives.”
Ahrens defeated Commissioner Larry Cassidy in District 2 in the August primary, and was unchallenged in the General Election.

District 3
(City of Harbor Springs, Little Traverse Township area)

Charlie MacInnis
(Incumbent, entering his third term)

Charlie MacInnisCharlie MacInnis has served on the Emmet County Board of Commissioners since 2013 representing Harbor Springs, Little Traverse Township and the portion of Bear Creek Township north of Pickerel Lake Road.  Previously, he worked for North Central Michigan College for nine years and Consumers Energy for 23 years, including seven years at the Big Rock Point Nuclear Plant in Charlevoix. He served on the boards of education for the Public Schools of Petoskey, Northwest Community Schools (Jackson County), and the Jackson County Intermediate School District. He has been a board member of HARBOR Inc., Top of Michigan Trails Council and the local chapter of the American Red Cross.

“I look forward to working with the six new members of the board of commissioners to make decisions in a way that is transparent to everyone and aligns the spending of public funds with the needs of the residents of Emmet County,” MacInnis said.

MacInnis ran unopposed in the August primary and in the General Election.


District 4
(Alanson, Littlefield and Springvale Township area)
Bill Shorter

bill-shorterShorter is a life-long resident of Emmet County. He graduated from Petoskey High School and attended North Central Michigan College.

“I understand budgets, taxes and the principles of good management. My wife, Marietta, and I operated a successful family business for more than 20 years before placing it in the capable hands of our daughter, Jennifer,” Shorter said. “I was an airline pilot for more than 30 years with the responsibility of delivering thousands of passengers safely to their destinations. I intend to apply the same high standards to the county that I held myself to in business and aviation. I would like to thank the voters in The village of Alanson, Littlefield and Springvale Townships for placing their confidence in me.”

Shorter defeated Commissioner Dan Plasencia in the August Primary. He defeated Green Party challenger CM Bondie in the General Election.



District 5
(Bear Creek Township area)

Jonathan Scheel

scheel-headshotScheel has lived in Emmet County for 16 years. He and his wife, Judith, have 5 grown children that are living out of the area. He outlined his work and community involvements below:

“I am currently Vice Chair on the Emmet County Friendship Board. In the past I have chaired the Emmet County Master Plan sub-committee on land use, vice chaired the Bear Creek Township Planning Commission and chaired the Concord Academy School Board.

I studied Public Administration with a minor in City Planning and have used that degree managing public water systems and consulting with local governments on planning, zoning and housing issues. I also have an associate’s degree in business accounting.

I have extensive work experience in development of housing and commercial projects. I have administered multi-million dollar budgets for local governments, nonprofits, and private developers.

I currently contract with Antrim County MI as their Housing Director administering their housing rehabilitation program. I also recently was appointed Antrim County Habitat For Humanity Executive Director.

I am involved in Emmet County agriculture growing small grains which are sold to a local Artisan baker and other farmers as seed and animal feed. I also am very involved in the local farm guild, promoting local foods and sustainable agriculture. “

Scheel defeated Commissioner Bert Notestine in the August Primary. He was unopposed in the General Election.

District 6
(Resort Township and Petoskey Ward 3)

John Stakoe


Stakoe defeated Commissioner Shawn Wonnacott in the August Primary. He defeated Independent Scott Smith and Democrat Dave Clink in the General Election.

District 7

(Elizabeth) Betsy White

(City of Petoskey)


Betsty White, 67, is a former math and earth science teacher and has served as office finance manager of NJ White Associates in Petoskey from 1979 to the present. She worked as a family and child counselor at the Women’s Resource Center from 1998-2007.

“I have led a youth mission to Appalachia and served on three foreign mission trips. I taught Sunday school for 15 years, as well as chairing the Petoskey United Methodist church finance committee for the last 8 years. I pay bills, pay taxes and meet payroll. I regularly refer to financial statements. I consult with attorneys, bankers, and CPA’s. I am practical, ethical, perseverant, and hard-working.  I have the education, experience, and determination to get this done,” said White.

White replaces long-time Commissioner Les Atchison, who did not seek re-election. White defeated two Republican challengers in the August primary and was uncontested in the General Election.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Emmet County, Michigan
200 Division Street, Petoskey MI 49770
(231) 348-1702 | Contact Us