Taking the wheel: Samuels appointed first female director of road commission.

October 25, 2018

Mary Samuels, director of Mason County Road Commission

Taking the wheel: Samuels appointed first female director of road commission.


By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

SCOTTVILLE — The Mason County Road Commission recently appointed Mary Samuels as its manager/director, making her the first woman in that position. Samuels has been the clerk/finance director of the road commission for nearly 19 years. In July she was appointed interim director, replacing Wayne Schoonover, who accepted a position in another county.

Samuels has also served as the elected clerk of Summit Township for 26 years, a position she will be retiring from by the end of the year.

The Mason County Road Commission has 35 full time employees, which include 27 drivers/operators, three mechanics, and eight administrative staffers. It has an annual budget of over $5 million and is responsible for over 900 miles of roads. The majority of funding from the commission, like all road commissions in the state, comes from state and federal funds paid through fuel taxes.

“I’m very excited to be in this position,” Samuels said. “I have lots of ideas but right now we are working on getting some projects done that had been set aside. We are updating the county certification maps and are looking at all our roads, making sure they match up to the maps. There are several traffic control orders that are non existent that we are also reviewing.”

Samuels said she has been working closely with Eric Nelson, who was appointed county highway engineer in July. Nelson was hired by the road commission last October and has 24 years professional service in engineering and construction.

“We have been working on making sure the primary roads in the county are in good shape. Hansen Road in Amber Township has been a top priority for the road commission and we will continue to work on improving it. We are also looking at projects in the southern portion of the county, including Lakeshore Drive. Construction on Anthony Road in Summit Township was delayed due to a state-wide union lockout earlier this summer. Unfortunately those repairs won’t be complete until next year now.”

Samuels said Darr Road bridge re-builds in Sherman Township are nearly complete and will be major improvements compared to the previous bridges that were each over 100 years old.

Eric Nelson

“We have a great crew here and it’s the top priority for them to make the roads in this county are safe to travel on,” Samuels said. “With winter coming up, many people can get anxious about the timeliness of when roads are plowed. We want people to understand that our crews work as hard as they can to clear all county roads in a timely manner.

“We also want people to understand that the guys aren’t aiming for mailboxes. In fact, that is quite dangerous. We encourage people to make sure, as we get close to winter, that their mailboxes are secured tightly. Snow can be quite heavy and can easily take out a loosely attached mailbox.

“We also want to remind people that moving snow across roads is not only illegal but extremely unsafe.”

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