Krieger challenged by Boes in county commissioner seat.

September 23, 2020

Krieger challenged by Boes in county commissioner seat.

#Election2020

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — Mason County First District Commissioner Nick Krieger, a Democrat, is being challenged by Republican Susan Boes. The first district covers City of Ludington wards 1, 2, and 3.  

Krieger was appointed to the commission in May 2019 to replace Republican Wally Taranko who passed away. Boes held the seat for two years prior to being defeated by Taranko in 2014.

Krieger moved back to Mason County full-time in 2015 after several years of working for the State of Michigan. He is a fifth-generation Mason County resident (his mother’s great-grandmother moved to the county in the 1880s).

Boes and her husband, Richard, have been married for 56 years. They have six adult children and 12 grandchildren.

The General Election takes place on Tuesday, Nov. 3. 

MCP: Why are you running for election on the Mason County for County Commission? 

Nick Krieger

Krieger: In the spring of 2019, I was appointed to fill the vacancy on the Mason County Board of Commissioners created by the passing of Commissioner Wally Taranko. Commissioner Taranko faithfully served Ludington and Mason County for many years, first as a Ludington police officer and chief of police, then as a member of the Ludington City Council, and finally as a county commissioner. I have tried to fill out the remainder of Commissioner Taranko’s term conscientiously and honestly.  Now I am running in my own right, seeking a full term on the county board.  I look forward to the opportunity to continue to serve for another two years.

Boes: I feel I have a lot to offer the community as a commissioner. I know the county and love living here. I want to make this county a great place to live and raise families.

MCP: What is the role of a county commissioner? 

BOES: The county commissioner researches and seeks information on the running of the county. For example, budgeting, working with the various areas the county, supervisors from the airport, the county campgrounds, Oakview (Medical Care Facility), the Council on Aging, and zoning for the county, to name a few.

KRIEGER: In Michigan, county commissioners wear many different hats. Perhaps the most visible job is oversight of the county budget. County commissioners set and approve the county’s annual budget.  Each year, the county board allocates limited available funds among the various county departments and offices, approves certain purchases, ratifies changes to the budget throughout the year, and sets long-term budget policy.

But county commissioners play many other roles as well. The county commission makes certain appointments, including to the County Board of Road Commissioners, Mason County Planning Commission, Mason County DHS (Department of Human Services) Board (the board with oversight of the Oakview Medical Care Facility), and many, many others. 

County commissioners also adopt and amend county ordinances (such as the county zoning ordinance), approve contracts (such as with the county medical examiner), accept grants from state and federal agencies (such as grants for homeland security or airport funding), and appoint and supervise the county administrator and other county employees.

MCP: Please talk about some of your background.

KRIEGER: I practice law in Ludington, concentrating in the areas of estate planning, real estate, municipal law, and probate and trust administration. Prior to my appointment to the county commission, I served on the Mason County District Library Board, Mason County Promise Zone Authority Board, and Ludington City Planning Commission.  Before that, I worked as a staff attorney for the Michigan Court of Appeals, where I was responsible for drafting orders and opinions for Judge Kathleen Jansen. I also served briefly as senior assistant corporation counsel for Genesee County.

Susan Boes

BOES: I sat of the county board for two years and in that capacity, I willingly accepted board appointments to the District Health Department #10, West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission, Michigan Works Board, Area Agency on Aging and the Hospital Finance Board ( This position I still hold).

While on the County Board, I worked aggressively to control costs as Finance, Personnel and Rules committee member. I wrote the proposal/moratorium to not allow further wind turbines to be built in the county. 

I’ve always been a strong advocate for the county government that considers the concerns and the needs of its citizens.

MCP: What do you see as one of the county’s biggest challenges in the near future?

BOES:  Budgeting in the wake of the Covid crisis. Revenue sharing will be a challenge.

KRIEGER: One of the biggest challenges and priorities for Mason County in the near term is promoting the creation of new jobs and affordable housing. The county commission can help facilitate economic development and construction by ensuring that Mason County’s planning and zoning policies are not unduly burdensome to business or a deterrent to economic development.

MCP: What do you see as one of the county’s biggest challenges in the long term future? 

KRIEGER: Mason County is in good shape financially compared to some other area counties. Currently, our pension liability is fully funded and we are generally able to fund needed expenditures and projects. In large part, we can thank the county administrator and members of the board‘s finance committee for implementing sound and responsible budget practices.  But we need to remain committed to these practices as we go forward, and cannot take our collective eyes off the ball, so to speak, especially in this time of COVID and reduced revenue sharing from Lansing. While our pension liability is presently funded, retiree health care expenses and other legacy costs will be a continuing challenge for Mason County.

BOES: I would like to see the zoning restrictions for new businesses, lightened. There needs to be more transparency from the board.  An issue I hear about from residents is that people seem to feel that the board does whatever the administrator tells them to do.  It is extremely important to hear what the administrator has to say, he’s good at his job, but it’s necessary, as a commissioner, to ask questions and then come to a decision. I was often called the” Question Girl”, while on the board, and I’m proud of that.  As commissioners we need to keep the lines of communication open so that our residents know what’s  happening in their community.

MCP: Please add additional comments:

BOES: I’ve held numerous positions: president of Right to Life, vice regent of Catholic Daughters, choir director at St Simon Catholic Church, music teacher at West Shore Community College, music teacher at Ludington Area Catholic School and Manistee Catholic Central School, team leader for Relay for Life, and president of the Ludington Area Catholic School Board of Education.

The Michigan Right to Life has endorsed me. I have a good relationship with law enforcement. I have the full support and endorsement of my entire family.

I know what the position of a county commissioner entails and would like the  opportunity to do the job. I found the job of commissioner to be not the most entertaining job I’ve ever had, but certainly the most interesting. 

KRIEGER: I really enjoy practicing law in Ludington and helping my clients with their concerns and projects.  I have always been interested in local affairs, and I am honored by the opportunity to be involved in community decision-making. I presently serve as parliamentarian of the Mason County Board of Commissioners and as a member of the Courts and Public Safety Committee

I would greatly appreciate the support of the voters of County Commissioner District 1 this November.

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