Kushion Resigns From Saugatuck Township
Embattled Saugatuck Township Zoning Administrator Steve Kushion has resigned from his post, effective Wednesday, Oct. 31, Saugatuck Township officials confirmed.
Kushion will be taking on a similar job with Professional Code Inspectors of Allendale, MI, which is closer to his home.
The township hired Kushion in June 2014. Previously, he worked for the City of Saugatuck doing planning, zoning and historic district commissions functions from May to November 2015, filling in between Michael Clark and current Saugatuck City Zoning Administrator Cindy Osman. And prior to that, he held a position in Ada Township.
Kushion was unavailable to comment and he did not respond to questions via email about why he was leaving his current position for a new one; or about whether or not the ongoing tensions between the local fire department personnel and township officials, including himself, played any role in his decision.
The Local Observer also asked Kushion about Saugatuck Township Manager Aaron Sheridan’s role in his hiring. Sheridan—who is fraternity brothers with Kushion— wrote the job description for which Kushion got hired at the township tailoring it to Kushion’s resume to ensure his friend got the job, said a source who asked for anonymity citing concern over township officials’ reactions.
The source told the Observer that Kushion himself conceded the fact that Sheridan had written the job description specifically to get his friend hired with the township.
“He didn’t say it in an arrogant way; he just said it nonchalantly,” the source told the paper about what Kushion had said.
The Observer further asked Kushion about whether the township hall atmosphere, beset with problems—including that four of the five township officials (Saugatuck Township Clerk Brad Rudich, Treasurer Lori Babinski, and Trustees Douglas Lane and Roy McIlwaine) all face a recall this Nov. 6 general election—also played a role in his leaving.
The friction between Kushion and Saugatuck Township Fire District officers has been palpable, most so after the Saugatuck Township Board—with Kushion playing a major role in advancing it—opted to unilaterally change the International Fire Code (IFC) last year.
The IFC amendment not only assured contention between fire and township officials, but local taxpayers are shouldering the mounting legal fees as the attorneys for both sides continue to render services in an attempt to bring some resolution to the disagreements.
The latest expenditure figures readily available from the fire department comes to $12,700 from 2017, but that does not include the staff time and resources spent on it, indicated Saugatuck Township Fire District Chief Greg Janik.