Process begins to fill empty commissioner seat

ALPENA – Those seeking Richard Fortier’s seat on the Alpena County Board of Commissioners have until March 26 to submit a letter of interest, according to County Clerk Bonnie Friedrichs.

Fortier died Wednesday after a battling lung cancer, and Friedrichs said commissioners have 30 days to fill his vacant seat. Those who submit letters of interest will be interviewed by commissioners on March 28. Whoever they appoint will serve until voters in Fortier’s district select a new commissioner.

Applicants must live inside District 8, which covers Sanborn and Ossineke townships, Friedrichs said.

On Aug. 6, voters will either pick a new commissioner or decide who will be on the Nov. 5, Friedrichs said. This depends on whether there is more than one Republican or Democrat candidate who file. Those wishing to be put on the Aug. 6 ballot have until May 14 to file a nominating petition or pay a $100 filing fee.

“This is all subject to change if any election laws change between now and August,” she said.

When a vacancy occurs in an elected county-wide position with more than half of a term left, current law states that commissioners can only fill that vacancy until the next scheduled election, Friedrichs said. In January, Fortier was sworn in to serve another two-year term on the board of commissioners.

Jordan Travis can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5688. Follow Jordan on Twitter @jt_alpenanews. Read his blog, A Snowball’s Chance, at