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Our "Township Talk," podcast discusses a wide variety of topics impacting Michigan's 1,240 townships. Don't miss an episode! Subscribe on Google Play or iTunes.  

Each guest on Township Talk, brings a unique and expert voice to the discussion, helping our townships stay ahead of the changes and challenges around Michigan. The views and opinions expressed by our guests do not necessarily reflect those of the MTA, our Board or our members.

MTA Q&A: Rolling with the changes during COVID-19 (audio-only)

Find out how the most current executive orders and regional lifting of restrictions impact your township. MTA’s entire Member Information Services team—Director Michael Selden, Staff Attorney Catherine Mullhaupt and MIS Liaison Cindy Dodge—joined by Seth Koches, legal counsel from Bauckham, Sparks, Thall, Seeber & Kaufman P.C., offer insights into the evolving impact of the COVID-19 crisis on your township operations. We tackled a wide variety of topics, from meetings to campgrounds, to help you understand where we are now.

Webinar Resources:

The Impact of COVID-19 on Municipal Cyber Security (audio-only)

COVID-19 drove us all into remote workplaces creating a target-rich environment and exposing our data to new vulnerabilities, from ransomware to phishing attacks. Listen in as the experts review security measures and recommend controls to help protect your township network and the data stored there. Finally, gain insights into what to do if you do have a data security breach.

Webinar Resources:

MTA Q&A - Considerations for Re-Opening Your Township Hall (audio-only)

This webinar is about the planning efforts your board must consider as you prepare to return to the township hall. From risk management to safety guidelines, physical screening to confidentiality, townships must ensure their workplace (and workforce!) is prepared for a safe return. MTA’s Member Information Liaison Cindy Dodge teams up with MTA Legal Counsel Seth Koches from Bauckham, Sparks, Thall, Seeber & Kaufman, P.C. to review actions that should be considered as your township plans to resume operations in light of recent COVID-19 restrictions. Discussion includes precautions that need to be implemented in both the short- and long-term, as well as in the event of another emergency closure.

Resources from webinar:

MTA Board Briefing with Governor Gretchen Whitmer on COVID-19(audio-only)

Monday, May 11, Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined the MTA Board for a briefing on COVID-19 and Michigan’s response—including the impact on the state budget, the need for additional federal stimulus funding, and insights in the stages of recovery and reengaging while mitigating risk. “We have to give the public confidence that they are safe," the governor said of local leaders serving residents during this time. "We need to tackle this together, and I appreciate your leadership in your communities.”


Sen. Jim Stamas, Senate appropriations chair, briefs MTA Executive Committee (audio-only)

Sen. Jim Stamas (R-Midland), chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, provided an update on the state budget process amidst the COVID-19 pandemic to members of MTA's Executive Committee and the MTA Board from the senator's district. The senator shared the estimated revenue loss of $3 billion the state is facing with five months remaining in its fiscal year, with a larger impact expected for the upcoming fiscal year. MTA greatly appreciates the time Sen. Stamas provided in meeting with members of MTA's leadership, sharing the latest budget information and learning about the financial challenges townships and other local governments are facing.

"MTA Q&A," Township Cemetery and Park Management During the COVID-19 Crisis (audio-only)

Cemetery expert and Member Information Services (MIS) Liaison Cindy Dodge leads this free hour-long session, moderated by MIS Director Michael Selden, offering guidance on the township’s role on burials and funeral services during the crisis, as well as providing answers to your questions on maintaining township properties.

Resources from webinar:

• American Cemetery and Cremation
• Executive Order 2020-43 – Public accommodations & gatherings (see section 3c) 
• CDC Resources for Parks & Recreational Facilities (language for signage) 
• CDC Visiting Parks and Places of Recreation (Dos & Don’ts language for signage) 
• CDC Frequently Asked Questions including funerals 
• Mlive Closed Playgrounds & park sample signs & photos of preventative measures
• MTA Cemetery & Parks Management due to COVID-19 
• OSHA Guidelines for Employees in the Workplace due to COVID19

Leadership in challenging times

Everything seems more difficult now than ever before. This is not an easy transition. MTA and 2018 Conference keynoter Brett Culp want to remind you that you are not alone. Listen to a special message from Brett including three tips on staying strong and leading your community through this crisis.

COVID-19 Updates and Resources for Local Governments

The Michigan Department of Treasury partnered with the Michigan Townships Association, Michigan Municipal League, and Michigan Association of Counties for this webinar. Topics include local government economic impacts, state resources, and federal funding information.

PowerPoint

MTA COVID-19 Update: Hot Topics from the State Fire Marshal (audio-only)

Don’t miss this special message from Michigan State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer offering insights into training, resources from the Bureau of Fire Services and the CDC as well as his insights into PPE for firefighters.
Guest: Michigan State Fire Marshal, Kevin Sehlmeyer

Watch Video on YouTube here

MTA COVID-19 Update: "MTA Q&A" live webinar (audio-only)

Hear MTA’s entire Member Information Services team—Director Michael Selden, Staff Attorney Catherine Mullhaupt and MIS Liaison Cindy Dodge—answer a variety of questions about the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on your township operations in this free, recorded hour-long session, moderated by MTA Executive Director Neil Sheridan, that was presented live on April 15.
Guest: Member Information Services team—Director Michael Selden, Staff Attorney Catherine Mullhaupt and MIS Liaison Cindy Dodge, moderated by MTA Executive Director Neil Sheridan

MTA COVID-19 Update: Legislative Update (audio-only)

Hear from MTA’s Director of Government Relations on our involvement during the COVID-19 period including work with the Governor’s Office and State departments. Learn more about the state budget, supplemental funding, and the federal stimulus bills as well as their impact to your township.
Guest: Judy Allen, MTA’s Director of Government Relations

Watch video on YouTube here

MTA COVID-19 Update: Temporary Extension of FOIA Response Times (audio-only)

Listen in as MTA’s Staff Attorney Catherine Mullhaupt and Member Information Service Director Michael Selden discuss handling Freedom of Information Act requests in light of Gov. Whitmer’s recent executive order providing temporary flexibility on statutory requirements.
Guest: MTA’s Staff Attorney Catherine Mullhaupt and Member Information Service Director Michael Selden


Watch video on YouTube here

The importance of bringing broadband access to under- and unserved communities in Michigan.

This episode focuses on the importance of bringing broadband access to under and unserved communities in Michigan. The episode was recorded prior to the first case of COVID-19 in Michigan and subsequent actions and changes throughout our state, so the tone and focus of the conversation is certainly different than if we had recorded it today. However, the need for reliable internet access—for our students, businesses and local governments--is more evident than ever. In this episode, MTA Executive Director Neil Sheridan talks with partners from Merit Network and Michigan State University about broadband access and a project that aims to expand access to more Michiganders.
Guests: Johannes Bauer, Quello Center, Michigan State University, Charlotte Bewersdorff and Pierrette Renée Dagg, Merit Network

MTA COVID-19 Update: COVID-19's impact on processing payroll and working from home (audio-only)

MTA Member Information Services Liaison Cindy Dodge offers insights into key personnel issues, including working remotely, the Families First Coronavirus Response and Emergency Family Medical Leave Acts, as well as other payroll issues during this time.
Guest: MTA Member Information Services Liaison Cindy Dodge

Watch video on YouTube here

MTA’s COVID-19 Update: Exploring and explaining Gov. Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order (audio-only)

MTA Member Information Services Director Michael Selden and Staff Attorney Catherine Mullhaupt discuss Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's "Stay Home, Stay Safe" executive order, and how it impacts townships, their personnel, meetings, and more.
Guests: MTA Member Information Services Director Michael Selden and Staff Attorney Catherine Mullhaupt

Watch video on YouTube here

A Conversation with Ty Bennett, Keynote Speaker for the 2020 MTA Annual Conference

At this year’s MTA Annual Conference, attendees will hear from our 2020 keynoter, Ty Bennett. The author of the book “Partnership is the New Leadership,” Ty will bring his powerful message on the importance of connecting with people and developing relationships for finding success. The conference theme this year is "Neighbors Serving Neighbors," and Ty’s message perfectly aligns with that sentiment. This episode is an opportunity to get a sneak peek from Ty on both his keynote speech and the breakout session he will be teaching.
Guest: Ty Bennett
Brought to you by: Consumers Energy

Programs and services available through the USDA Rural Development

In this special episode of Township Talk, MTA Executive Director Neil Sheridan takes over the hosting duties and sits down with Jason Allen, state director of the USDA Rural Development. Director Allen shares the extensive USDA resources available for townships—covering areas from broadband to rural prosperity, community facilities to energy efficiencies—and discusses the many invaluable programs and services, including funding and grant opportunities for local governments.
Guest: Jason Allen, State Director of USDA Rural Development
Brought to you by: Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes

Taking on the Opioid Epidemic in Michigan

The opioid epidemic impacts every community in Michigan. In this episode of Township Talk, we speak to Dr. Jennifer Morse, medical director of three regional health departments, covering 19 rural counties in mid- and central Michigan. Dr. Morse also shared her insights in our December Township Focus cover story on the issue, and what townships can do to help combat the crisis. In this podcast, Dr. Morse further discusses what she is seeing in Michigan—especially in our rural communities—and the local efforts taking place to make a difference.
Guest: Dr. Jennifer Morse, MD
Sponsored by: BS & A Software

Township officials get educated with upcoming educational events in 2020

2019 was definitely a year for the history books for Michigan’s townships, as well as the Michigan Townships Association. From PFAS, recreational marijuana, and debates over mining, there is no shortage of hot topics—and new information—on which Michigan’s township officials need to stay informed. They have questions—and MTA offers answers and insights. In this episode, we hear from MTA’s own Education Director Shelley Cardenas about how the Association is gearing up to offer new opportunities to learn more about key issues impacting townships this year.
Guest: Shelley Cardenas, Education Director

Talking about MTA’s NEW Authorities and Responsibilities of Michigan Townships

At long last, a completely rewritten edition of MTA’s best-selling publication, Authorities and Responsibilities of Michigan Townships, is on the presses and will soon be available! The new version modernizes this essential tool to what townships are experiencing today. We sat down with MTA Staff Attorney Catherine Mullhaupt, who authored the new edition, to hear how the overhauled edition differs from the previous version, and how elected and appointed officials--and many more--can benefit from this helpful guide for serving your community.
Guest: Catherine Mullhaupt, MTA Staff Attorney

State Christmas Tree... an MTA tradition

In this special holiday episode of Township Talk, host Scott Southard and producer Aimee West talk with MTA Life Member Denny Olson, supervisor of Breitung Charter Township (Dickinson Co.). For 18 years, Denny has played the role of Michigan’s own Santa, helping to find the state Christmas tree that is lit up in front of the Capitol for the holiday season. MTA and its members have also had a long history as part of the state Christmas Tree Crew, from scouting for the tree, being an integral part of the tree-cutting ceremony that engages the entire community, to getting the tree to Lansing for the Capital City’s Silver Bells holiday celebration. In the episode, listen as Denny reflects about this fun—and meaningful—experience, and some of the adventures he has had along the way.
Guest: Denny Olson, supervisor of Breitung Charter Township and MTA lifetime member

Fire and Safety and Marijuana

There are a lot of questions in Michigan around marijuana and everything related to this new market, from growing to distribution. In this episode, we take on one of these issues with Adam Dailide from the Bureau of Fire Services. His department is on the frontline in inspecting marijuana facilities in Michigan, making sure they are up to code and are safe both for the workers in the facility, as well as residents nearby. Over the course of the discussion, we’ll share what local officials need to know about the various types of recreational marijuana facilities, including requirements for inspections and oversight, and for safety and fire protection.
Guest: Adam Dailide, Bureau of Fire Services Plan Review Consultant, Master of Architecture, NFPA & State of Michigan Certified Fire Inspector I

Learning more about Michigan's marijuana future

Many township officials have a lot of questions about recreational marijuana and what it means for Michigan. In this episode of Township Talk, we speak to Andrew Brisbo, executive director of the Marijuana Regulatory Agency and try to answer those questions. In this in-depth conversation, Township Talk takes on many important issues like marijuana licenses, a township’s authority over marijuana in their area, and the emergency rules around marijuana. We are joined in the episode by Catherine Mullhaupt, MTA’s staff attorney.
Guest: Andrew Brisbo, Executive Director, Marijuana Regulatory Agency

Tackling the problem of PFAS

In this important episode of Township Talk, we will be discussing PFAS and the rules to try and avoid future contamination of these man-made chemicals. The episode begins with an overview of the rules that have been released by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, looking at what this means for townships across Michigan with MTA Legislative Liaison Tom Frazier. It is followed with a conversation about what the experience of dealing with a PFAS contamination is like at the local level with MTA President Jeff Sorensen.
Guest: Tom Frazier, MTA Legislative Liaison and Jeff Sorensen, MTA President

Part 2 of MTA’s roundtable discussion on township issues

Continuing the conversation … recently, MTA hosted a roundtable discussion that hit a variety of topics important to townships across Michigan. In this episode, hear from MTA’s Executive Director Neil Sheridan, and Michael Selden and Cindy Dodge from our Member Information Services Department, as they speak with David Fleet, editor of the Citizen and Supervisor Robert DePalma and Clerk Patti Back of Groveland Township (Oakland Co.). The conversation covers such topics as foster care facilities, preemption of local control, the power of townships and MTA working together and the upcoming census. This is the second in a two-part episode.
Guests: David Fleet, Robert DePalma, Patti Back, Michael Selden, Cindy Dodge, Neil Sheridan

Part 1 of MTA’s roundtable discussion on township issues

Recently, MTA hosted a roundtable discussion that hit a variety of topics important to townships across Michigan. In this episode, hear from MTA’s Executive Director Neil Sheridan, and Michael Selden and Cindy Dodge from our Member Information Services Department, as they speak with David Fleet, editor of the Citizen and Supervisor Robert DePalma and Clerk Patti Back of Groveland Township (Oakland Co.). The conversation covers such topics as the upcoming census, outreach to residents, and local government funding. This is the first in a two-part episode.
Guests: David Fleet, Robert DePalma, Patti Back, Michael Selden, Cindy Dodge, Neil Sheridan

The Importance of the 2020 Census (with Joan Gustafson of the Michigan Nonprofit Association)

On this episode of Township Talk, we are joined by Joan Gustafson of the Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA). MNA is overseeing the Census 2020 Michigan Nonprofits Campaign, a statewide nonprofit initiative to help ensure a complete count in the next census. The census has the capability to impact Michigan for the next 10 years, from congressional representation to federal funding. Joan speaks about the impact of the census and what townships can do today to prepare and educate their citizens. Find resources and information to help your township at https://becountedmi2020.com/.
Guest: Joan Gustafson

The importance of connecting with your legislator 

With Michigan’s Legislature set to return to session next month, Township Talk speaks with MTA’s own Judy Allen, our director of government relations, about building relationships with your legislators. It is a crucial connection, especially given the number of bills that impact township government. We dive into how to contact your lawmakers and initiate a conversation, as well as do’s and don’ts to ensure your voice is heard. Judy also shares a sneak peek into issues we can expect to see from Lansing as the legislative session resumes.
Guest: MTA Director of Government Relations Judy Allen

Meet Neil Sheridan, MTA’s new executive director

In this episode of Township Talk, our new host Scott Southard talks with MTA’s new executive director, Neil Sheridan. Neil shares with the listeners his experiences that led him to leading Michigan’s largest municipal organization in the state, his perspectives on MTA, and his experiences learning more about Michigan and its townships.
Guest: Neil Sheridan, MTA’s Executive Director

How "Emily" changed your next FOIA request

Last year's "Emily" FOIA request caused headaches for townships throughout the state, but at least one positive change resulted from the chaos. Catherine Mullhaupt, MTA staff attorney, discusses what's new with the Freedom of Information Act, and what it means for your next FOIA request.
Guest: MTA's Staff Attorney Catherine Mullhaupt

Assessing reform and how it will impact townships

It's the question on all township board members' lips--how will the assessing reform law impact us, and our assessor? Shila Kiander, Mecosta County equalization director and MTA trainer, covers this issue and more in this week's conversation.
Guiest: Shila Kiander, Mecosta County equalization director and MTA trainer

MTA says thanks, and farewell, as Larry Merrill retires

As Executive Director Larry Merrill prepares to retire, he looks back on his 39 years with MTA. Hear about how answering a want ad in the Lansing State Journal led to a career spanning nearly four decades, and how townships have evolved over the years.
Guest: MTA Executive Director Larry Merrill

Local authority and the Legislature 

Already this year, lawmakers have proposed local preemptions on short-term rentals and child foster care facilities--and the legislative term is just getting started. MTA Executive Director Larry Merrill and MTA Government Relations Director Judy Allen drill into the issue of local authority, why it's frequently at risk--and what we can do about it.
Guest: MTA Executive Director Larry Merrill and MTA Director of Government Relations Judy Allen 

Where are they now? Catching up with a Robinson Scholarship recipient

Each year, MTA gives at least one Robert R. Robinson Memorial Scholarship to a college or graduate school student who is preparing for a career serving in local government. In the latest Township Talk, host Bethany Mauger catches up with 2015 scholarship recipient Andrew Dymczyk, who discusses the value of receiving the honor, along with his life-long passion for serving Michigan municipalities which brought him to his current role as manager of DeWitt Charter Township (Clinton Co.).
Guest: Andrew Dymczyk, Manager of DeWitt Charter Township (Clinton Co.).

Cybersecurity for townships

The March/April Township Focus cover story explored why cybersecurity is a concern for every township--regardless of location or population. We continue the conversation with Michigan State Police cybersecurity experts D/Sgt. Jeff Hoffman and D/Sgt. Matt McLalin, who explain the online threats facing all municipalities--and what you can do to prevent attacks.
Guests:  D/Sgt. Jeff Hoffman and D/Sgt. Matt McLalin, Michigan State Police

Leading your community into the future

MTA Executive Director Larry Merrill has been a life-long student of—and is an expert in—leadership in the public sector. What do public leaders do well? How do they succeed? Merrill shares key characteristics of board leadership, building trust and creating a vision—and how it can benefit your township in this discussion.
Guest: MTA Executive Director Larry Merrill

What does it really mean for township boards to 'speak with one voice'?

MTA Executive Director Larry Merrill responds to a point raised in a previous Township Talk podcast by Lansing State Journal Advocacy Columnist Judy Putnam. We dive into why MTA teaches boards to speak with "one voice"--and why that's good public policy--in this lively conversation.
Guest: MTA Executive Director Larry Merrill

How to work with the media. 

Judy Putnam, seasoned journalist and current Lansing State Journal advocacy columnist, shares her advice for working with the media and building relationships with reporters.
Guest: Judy Putnam

Influencing others: A conversation with our 2019 MTA Conference keynoter 

What does it take to have a meaningful impact--on another person or an entire community? MTA's 2019 Annual Conference keynoter shares his insight on leading a life of influence and significance.
Guest: Erick Rheam

Looking back—and ahead—at assessing reform

How did last year's assessing reform proposal turn into a law supported by MTA? Sen. Jim Stamas and Rep. James Lower look back at the process, what's in the final law and what's still to come.
Guest: Sen. Jim Stamas, Rep. James Lower, and Judy Allen MTA Gov. Relations

Do you do social media well?

Orion Charter Township Supervisor Chris Barnett shares how social media is working for his township.
Guest: Orion Charter Township Supervisor Chris Barnett

Clearing the Air: What the recreational marijuana law means for your township

Confused about what the legalization of recreational marijuana really means? You're not the only one. MTA's Staff Attorney Catherine Mullhaupt answers your most burning questions in this podcast.
Guest: MTA's Staff Attorney Catherine Mullhaupt

Interlocal ‘divorce’ doesn’t have to be cause for upset

After more than 30 years, the Grand Traverse Rural Fire Department—comprised of 10 townships—parted ways. But MTA Past President Doug Mansfield, Union Township (Grand Traverse Co.) supervisor, believes that townships shouldn’t see dissolving interlocal agreements as a failure—but rather a reason to celebrate the successful run they did have. In the latest episode of Township Talk, Mansfield expands on his experience with “interlocal divorce,” as discussed in the December 2018 Township Focus cover story.
Guest: MTA Past President Doug Mansfield, Union Township (Grand Traverse Co.) supervisor

What will 'lame duck' mean for townships?

MTA Director of Government Relations Judy Allen looks into her crystal ball as the "lame duck" legislative session heats up. We discuss the much-improved assessing proposal as well as bills that impact townships, both negatively and positively.
Guest: MTA Director of Government Relations Judy Allen 

Becoming a ‘green’ township starts with the small decisions! 

Listen as Director of Public Services Sandra Diorka and Environmental Coordinator Allen Bryant discuss how Delhi Charter Township became a “green community,” and the small goals that make a big impact—that any size township can build on to make “going green” a smart decision for your community.
Guest: Director of Public Services Sandra Diorka and Environmental Coordinator Allen Bryant

Help! Our public participation policy needs work!

How do you handle public participation at township board meetings? MTA Executive Director Larry Merrill breaks down the basics and best practices..
Guest: MTA Executive Director Larry Merrill

Special Election Edition

The November election means a new governor and changing dynamics in the state House and Senate. Special guest Kyle Melinn of MIRS joins MTA as we dive into the details--and what they mean for townships--in this episode of Township Talk.
Guest: Kyle Melinn of MIRS

A dairy farm wants to locate where? What the proposed GAAMPs Changes could mean 

A new draft of the Site Selection GAAMPs would remove local zoning considerations. MTA Staff Attorney Catherine Mullhaupt explains what this means--and what you can do about it.
Guest: MTA Staff Attorney Catherine Mullhaupt

Special Election Edition    

Join us for Special Election 2018 Edition of MTA's "Township Talk' podcast, as we talk with MTA Director of Government Relations Judy Allen about the three statewide proposals voters will face on the ballot—and their potential impact on townships.
Guest: Judy Allen, MTA Director of Government Relations

 

Decoding Michigan's new Lead & Copper Rule 

In MTA's newest "Township Talk" podcast, MTA Legislative Liaison Tom Frazier breaks down the changes to Michigan's new Lead and Copper Rule and what it means for townships with public water supplies.
Guest: MTA Legislative Liaison Tom Frazier

Special Election Edition 

Judy Allen, MTA Director of Government Relations, gives us a preview of the upcoming November election and how local officials will be impacted--and how they can take action.
Guest: Judy Allen, MTA Director of Government Relations

Townships: Where we came from and where we’re going

MTA Executive Director Larry Merrill explores township government’s past, and shares his thoughts on where the government closest to the people is headed.
Guest: MTA Executive Director Larry Merrill

"MTA Q&A," Township Cemetery and Park Management During the COVID-19 Crisis (audio-only)

Cemetery expert and Member Information Services (MIS) Liaison Cindy Dodge leads this free hour-long session, moderated by MIS Director Michael Selden, offering guidance on the township’s role on burials and funeral services during the crisis, as well as providing answers to your questions on maintaining township properties.

Resources from webinar:

• American Cemetery and Cremation
• Executive Order 2020-43 – Public accommodations & gatherings (see section 3c) 
• CDC Resources for Parks & Recreational Facilities (language for signage) 
• CDC Visiting Parks and Places of Recreation (Dos & Don’ts language for signage) 
• CDC Frequently Asked Questions including funerals 
• Mlive Closed Playgrounds & park sample signs & photos of preventative measures
• MTA Cemetery & Parks Management due to COVID-19 
• OSHA Guidelines for Employees in the Workplace due to COVID19

Leadership in challenging times

Everything seems more difficult now than ever before. This is not an easy transition. MTA and 2018 Conference keynoter Brett Culp want to remind you that you are not alone. Listen to a special message from Brett including three tips on staying strong and leading your community through this crisis.

COVID-19 Updates and Resources for Local Governments

The Michigan Department of Treasury partnered with the Michigan Townships Association, Michigan Municipal League, and Michigan Association of Counties for this webinar. Topics include local government economic impacts, state resources, and federal funding information.

PowerPoint

MTA COVID-19 Update: Hot Topics from the State Fire Marshal (audio-only)

Don’t miss this special message from Michigan State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer offering insights into training, resources from the Bureau of Fire Services and the CDC as well as his insights into PPE for firefighters.
Guest: Michigan State Fire Marshal, Kevin Sehlmeyer

Watch Video on YouTube here

MTA COVID-19 Update: "MTA Q&A" live webinar (audio-only)

Hear MTA’s entire Member Information Services team—Director Michael Selden, Staff Attorney Catherine Mullhaupt and MIS Liaison Cindy Dodge—answer a variety of questions about the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on your township operations in this free, recorded hour-long session, moderated by MTA Executive Director Neil Sheridan, that was presented live on April 15.
Guest: Member Information Services team—Director Michael Selden, Staff Attorney Catherine Mullhaupt and MIS Liaison Cindy Dodge, moderated by MTA Executive Director Neil Sheridan

MTA COVID-19 Update: Legislative Update (audio-only)

Hear from MTA’s Director of Government Relations on our involvement during the COVID-19 period including work with the Governor’s Office and State departments. Learn more about the state budget, supplemental funding, and the federal stimulus bills as well as their impact to your township.
Guest: Judy Allen, MTA’s Director of Government Relations

Watch video on YouTube here

MTA COVID-19 Update: Temporary Extension of FOIA Response Times (audio-only)

Listen in as MTA’s Staff Attorney Catherine Mullhaupt and Member Information Service Director Michael Selden discuss handling Freedom of Information Act requests in light of Gov. Whitmer’s recent executive order providing temporary flexibility on statutory requirements.
Guest: MTA’s Staff Attorney Catherine Mullhaupt and Member Information Service Director Michael Selden


Watch video on YouTube here

The importance of bringing broadband access to under- and unserved communities in Michigan.

This episode focuses on the importance of bringing broadband access to under and unserved communities in Michigan. The episode was recorded prior to the first case of COVID-19 in Michigan and subsequent actions and changes throughout our state, so the tone and focus of the conversation is certainly different than if we had recorded it today. However, the need for reliable internet access—for our students, businesses and local governments--is more evident than ever. In this episode, MTA Executive Director Neil Sheridan talks with partners from Merit Network and Michigan State University about broadband access and a project that aims to expand access to more Michiganders.
Guests: Johannes Bauer, Quello Center, Michigan State University, Charlotte Bewersdorff and Pierrette Renée Dagg, Merit Network

MTA COVID-19 Update: COVID-19's impact on processing payroll and working from home (audio-only)

MTA Member Information Services Liaison Cindy Dodge offers insights into key personnel issues, including working remotely, the Families First Coronavirus Response and Emergency Family Medical Leave Acts, as well as other payroll issues during this time.
Guest: MTA Member Information Services Liaison Cindy Dodge

Watch video on YouTube here

MTA’s COVID-19 Update: Exploring and explaining Gov. Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order (audio-only)

MTA Member Information Services Director Michael Selden and Staff Attorney Catherine Mullhaupt discuss Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's "Stay Home, Stay Safe" executive order, and how it impacts townships, their personnel, meetings, and more.
Guests: MTA Member Information Services Director Michael Selden and Staff Attorney Catherine Mullhaupt

Watch video on YouTube here

A Conversation with Ty Bennett, Keynote Speaker for the 2020 MTA Annual Conference

At this year’s MTA Annual Conference, attendees will hear from our 2020 keynoter, Ty Bennett. The author of the book “Partnership is the New Leadership,” Ty will bring his powerful message on the importance of connecting with people and developing relationships for finding success. The conference theme this year is "Neighbors Serving Neighbors," and Ty’s message perfectly aligns with that sentiment. This episode is an opportunity to get a sneak peek from Ty on both his keynote speech and the breakout session he will be teaching.
Guest: Ty Bennett
Brought to you by: Consumers Energy

Programs and services available through the USDA Rural Development

In this special episode of Township Talk, MTA Executive Director Neil Sheridan takes over the hosting duties and sits down with Jason Allen, state director of the USDA Rural Development. Director Allen shares the extensive USDA resources available for townships—covering areas from broadband to rural prosperity, community facilities to energy efficiencies—and discusses the many invaluable programs and services, including funding and grant opportunities for local governments.
Guest: 
Jason Allen, State Director of USDA Rural Development
Brought to you by:
Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes

Taking on the Opioid Epidemic in Michigan

The opioid epidemic impacts every community in Michigan. In this episode of Township Talk, we speak to Dr. Jennifer Morse, medical director of three regional health departments, covering 19 rural counties in mid- and central Michigan. Dr. Morse also shared her insights in our December Township Focus cover story on the issue, and what townships can do to help combat the crisis. In this podcast, Dr. Morse further discusses what she is seeing in Michigan—especially in our rural communities—and the local efforts taking place to make a difference.
Guest: Dr. Jennifer Morse, MD
Sponsored by: BS & A Software

Township officials get educated with upcoming educational events in 2020

2019 was definitely a year for the history books for Michigan’s townships, as well as the Michigan Townships Association. From PFAS, recreational marijuana, and debates over mining, there is no shortage of hot topics—and new information—on which Michigan’s township officials need to stay informed. They have questions—and MTA offers answers and insights. In this episode, we hear from MTA’s own Education Director Shelley Cardenas about how the Association is gearing up to offer new opportunities to learn more about key issues impacting townships this year.
Guest: 
Shelley Cardenas, Education Director

Talking about MTA’s NEW Authorities and Responsibilities of Michigan Townships

At long last, a completely rewritten edition of MTA’s best-selling publication, Authorities and Responsibilities of Michigan Townships, is on the presses and will soon be available! The new version modernizes this essential tool to what townships are experiencing today. We sat down with MTA Staff Attorney Catherine Mullhaupt, who authored the new edition, to hear how the overhauled edition differs from the previous version, and how elected and appointed officials--and many more--can benefit from this helpful guide for serving your community.
Guest: 
Catherine Mullhaupt, MTA Staff Attorney

State Christmas Tree... an MTA tradition

In this special holiday episode of Township Talk, host Scott Southard and producer Aimee West talk with MTA Life Member Denny Olson, supervisor of Breitung Charter Township (Dickinson Co.). For 18 years, Denny has played the role of Michigan’s own Santa, helping to find the state Christmas tree that is lit up in front of the Capitol for the holiday season. MTA and its members have also had a long history as part of the state Christmas Tree Crew, from scouting for the tree, being an integral part of the tree-cutting ceremony that engages the entire community, to getting the tree to Lansing for the Capital City’s Silver Bells holiday celebration. In the episode, listen as Denny reflects about this fun—and meaningful—experience, and some of the adventures he has had along the way.
Guest: 
Denny Olson, supervisor of Breitung Charter Township and MTA lifetime member

Fire and Safety and Marijuana

There are a lot of questions in Michigan around marijuana and everything related to this new market, from growing to distribution. In this episode, we take on one of these issues with Adam Dailide from the Bureau of Fire Services. His department is on the frontline in inspecting marijuana facilities in Michigan, making sure they are up to code and are safe both for the workers in the facility, as well as residents nearby. Over the course of the discussion, we’ll share what local officials need to know about the various types of recreational marijuana facilities, including requirements for inspections and oversight, and for safety and fire protection.
Guest: Adam Dailide, Bureau of Fire Services Plan Review Consultant, Master of Architecture, NFPA & State of Michigan Certified Fire Inspector I

Learning more about Michigan's marijuana future

Many township officials have a lot of questions about recreational marijuana and what it means for Michigan. In this episode of Township Talk, we speak to Andrew Brisbo, executive director of the Marijuana Regulatory Agency and try to answer those questions. In this in-depth conversation, Township Talk takes on many important issues like marijuana licenses, a township’s authority over marijuana in their area, and the emergency rules around marijuana. We are joined in the episode by Catherine Mullhaupt, MTA’s staff attorney.
Guest:
Andrew Brisbo, Executive Director, Marijuana Regulatory Agency

Tackling the problem of PFAS

In this important episode of Township Talk, we will be discussing PFAS and the rules to try and avoid future contamination of these man-made chemicals. The episode begins with an overview of the rules that have been released by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, looking at what this means for townships across Michigan with MTA Legislative Liaison Tom Frazier. It is followed with a conversation about what the experience of dealing with a PFAS contamination is like at the local level with MTA President Jeff Sorensen.
Guest:
Tom Frazier, MTA Legislative Liaison and Jeff Sorensen, MTA President

Part 2 of MTA’s roundtable discussion on township issues

Continuing the conversation … recently, MTA hosted a roundtable discussion that hit a variety of topics important to townships across Michigan. In this episode, hear from MTA’s Executive Director Neil Sheridan, and Michael Selden and Cindy Dodge from our Member Information Services Department, as they speak with David Fleet, editor of the Citizen and Supervisor Robert DePalma and Clerk Patti Back of Groveland Township (Oakland Co.). The conversation covers such topics as foster care facilities, preemption of local control, the power of townships and MTA working together and the upcoming census. This is the second in a two-part episode.
Guests: David Fleet, Robert DePalma, Patti Back, Michael Selden, Cindy Dodge, Neil Sheridan

Part 1 of MTA’s roundtable discussion on township issues

Recently, MTA hosted a roundtable discussion that hit a variety of topics important to townships across Michigan. In this episode, hear from MTA’s Executive Director Neil Sheridan, and Michael Selden and Cindy Dodge from our Member Information Services Department, as they speak with David Fleet, editor of the Citizen and Supervisor Robert DePalma and Clerk Patti Back of Groveland Township (Oakland Co.). The conversation covers such topics as the upcoming census, outreach to residents, and local government funding. This is the first in a two-part episode.
Guests: David Fleet, Robert DePalma, Patti Back, Michael Selden, Cindy Dodge, Neil Sheridan

The Importance of the 2020 Census (with Joan Gustafson of the Michigan Nonprofit Association)

On this episode of Township Talk, we are joined by Joan Gustafson of the Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA). MNA is overseeing the Census 2020 Michigan Nonprofits Campaign, a statewide nonprofit initiative to help ensure a complete count in the next census. The census has the capability to impact Michigan for the next 10 years, from congressional representation to federal funding. Joan speaks about the impact of the census and what townships can do today to prepare and educate their citizens. Find resources and information to help your township at https://becountedmi2020.com/.
Guest: Joan Gustafson

The importance of connecting with your legislator 

With Michigan’s Legislature set to return to session next month, Township Talk speaks with MTA’s own Judy Allen, our director of government relations, about building relationships with your legislators. It is a crucial connection, especially given the number of bills that impact township government. We dive into how to contact your lawmakers and initiate a conversation, as well as do’s and don’ts to ensure your voice is heard. Judy also shares a sneak peek into issues we can expect to see from Lansing as the legislative session resumes.
Guest: MTA Director of Government Relations Judy Allen

Meet Neil Sheridan, MTA’s new executive director

In this episode of Township Talk, our new host Scott Southard talks with MTA’s new executive director, Neil Sheridan. Neil shares with the listeners his experiences that led him to leading Michigan’s largest municipal organization in the state, his perspectives on MTA, and his experiences learning more about Michigan and its townships.
Guest: Neil Sheridan, MTA’s Executive Director

How "Emily" changed your next FOIA request

Last year's "Emily" FOIA request caused headaches for townships throughout the state, but at least one positive change resulted from the chaos. Catherine Mullhaupt, MTA staff attorney, discusses what's new with the Freedom of Information Act, and what it means for your next FOIA request.
Guest: MTA's Staff Attorney Catherine Mullhaupt

Assessing reform and how it will impact townships

It's the question on all township board members' lips--how will the assessing reform law impact us, and our assessor? Shila Kiander, Mecosta County equalization director and MTA trainer, covers this issue and more in this week's conversation.
Guiest: Shila Kiander, Mecosta County equalization director and MTA trainer

MTA says thanks, and farewell, as Larry Merrill retires

As Executive Director Larry Merrill prepares to retire, he looks back on his 39 years with MTA. Hear about how answering a want ad in the Lansing State Journal led to a career spanning nearly four decades, and how townships have evolved over the years.
Guest: MTA Executive Director Larry Merrill

Local authority and the Legislature 

Already this year, lawmakers have proposed local preemptions on short-term rentals and child foster care facilities--and the legislative term is just getting started. MTA Executive Director Larry Merrill and MTA Government Relations Director Judy Allen drill into the issue of local authority, why it's frequently at risk--and what we can do about it.
Guest: MTA Executive Director Larry Merrill and MTA Director of Government Relations Judy Allen 

Where are they now? Catching up with a Robinson Scholarship recipient

Each year, MTA gives at least one Robert R. Robinson Memorial Scholarship to a college or graduate school student who is preparing for a career serving in local government. In the latest Township Talk, host Bethany Mauger catches up with 2015 scholarship recipient Andrew Dymczyk, who discusses the value of receiving the honor, along with his life-long passion for serving Michigan municipalities which brought him to his current role as manager of DeWitt Charter Township (Clinton Co.).
Guest: Andrew Dymczyk, Manager of DeWitt Charter Township (Clinton Co.).

Cybersecurity for townships

The March/April Township Focus cover story explored why cybersecurity is a concern for every township--regardless of location or population. We continue the conversation with Michigan State Police cybersecurity experts D/Sgt. Jeff Hoffman and D/Sgt. Matt McLalin, who explain the online threats facing all municipalities--and what you can do to prevent attacks.
Guests:  D/Sgt. Jeff Hoffman and D/Sgt. Matt McLalin, Michigan State Police

Leading your community into the future

MTA Executive Director Larry Merrill has been a life-long student of—and is an expert in—leadership in the public sector. What do public leaders do well? How do they succeed? Merrill shares key characteristics of board leadership, building trust and creating a vision—and how it can benefit your township in this discussion.
Guest: 
MTA Executive Director Larry Merrill

What does it really mean for township boards to 'speak with one voice'?

MTA Executive Director Larry Merrill responds to a point raised in a previous Township Talk podcast by Lansing State Journal Advocacy Columnist Judy Putnam. We dive into why MTA teaches boards to speak with "one voice"--and why that's good public policy--in this lively conversation.
Guest: MTA Executive Director Larry Merrill

How to work with the media. 

Judy Putnam, seasoned journalist and current Lansing State Journal advocacy columnist, shares her advice for working with the media and building relationships with reporters.
Guest: Judy Putnam

Influencing others: A conversation with our 2019 MTA Conference keynoter 

What does it take to have a meaningful impact--on another person or an entire community? MTA's 2019 Annual Conference keynoter shares his insight on leading a life of influence and significance.
Guest: Erick Rheam

Looking back—and ahead—at assessing reform

How did last year's assessing reform proposal turn into a law supported by MTA? Sen. Jim Stamas and Rep. James Lower look back at the process, what's in the final law and what's still to come.
Guest: Sen. Jim Stamas, Rep. James Lower, and Judy Allen MTA Gov. Relations

Do you do social media well?

Orion Charter Township Supervisor Chris Barnett shares how social media is working for his township.
Guest: Orion Charter Township Supervisor Chris Barnett

Clearing the Air: What the recreational marijuana law means for your township

Confused about what the legalization of recreational marijuana really means? You're not the only one. MTA's Staff Attorney Catherine Mullhaupt answers your most burning questions in this podcast.
Guest: 
MTA's Staff Attorney Catherine Mullhaupt

Interlocal ‘divorce’ doesn’t have to be cause for upset

After more than 30 years, the Grand Traverse Rural Fire Department—comprised of 10 townships—parted ways. But MTA Past President Doug Mansfield, Union Township (Grand Traverse Co.) supervisor, believes that townships shouldn’t see dissolving interlocal agreements as a failure—but rather a reason to celebrate the successful run they did have. In the latest episode of Township Talk, Mansfield expands on his experience with “interlocal divorce,” as discussed in the December 2018 Township Focus cover story.
Guest: MTA Past President Doug Mansfield, Union Township (Grand Traverse Co.) supervisor

What will 'lame duck' mean for townships?

MTA Director of Government Relations Judy Allen looks into her crystal ball as the "lame duck" legislative session heats up. We discuss the much-improved assessing proposal as well as bills that impact townships, both negatively and positively.
Guest: 
MTA Director of Government Relations Judy Allen 

Becoming a ‘green’ township starts with the small decisions! 

Listen as Director of Public Services Sandra Diorka and Environmental Coordinator Allen Bryant discuss how Delhi Charter Township became a “green community,” and the small goals that make a big impact—that any size township can build on to make “going green” a smart decision for your community.
Guest: 
Director of Public Services Sandra Diorka and Environmental Coordinator Allen Bryant

Help! Our public participation policy needs work!

How do you handle public participation at township board meetings? MTA Executive Director Larry Merrill breaks down the basics and best practices..
Guest: 
MTA Executive Director Larry Merrill

Special Election Edition

The November election means a new governor and changing dynamics in the state House and Senate. Special guest Kyle Melinn of MIRS joins MTA as we dive into the details--and what they mean for townships--in this episode of Township Talk.
Guest: 
Kyle Melinn of MIRS

A dairy farm wants to locate where? What the proposed GAAMPs Changes could mean 

A new draft of the Site Selection GAAMPs would remove local zoning considerations. MTA Staff Attorney Catherine Mullhaupt explains what this means--and what you can do about it.
Guest: 
MTA Staff Attorney Catherine Mullhaupt

Special Election Edition    

Join us for Special Election 2018 Edition of MTA's "Township Talk' podcast, as we talk with MTA Director of Government Relations Judy Allen about the three statewide proposals voters will face on the ballot—and their potential impact on townships.
Guest: 
Judy Allen, MTA Director of Government Relations

 

Decoding Michigan's new Lead & Copper Rule 

In MTA's newest "Township Talk" podcast, MTA Legislative Liaison Tom Frazier breaks down the changes to Michigan's new Lead and Copper Rule and what it means for townships with public water supplies.
Guest:
 MTA Legislative Liaison Tom Frazier

Special Election Edition 

Judy Allen, MTA Director of Government Relations, gives us a preview of the upcoming November election and how local officials will be impacted--and how they can take action.
Guest: Judy Allen, MTA Director of Government Relations

Townships: Where we came from and where we’re going

MTA Executive Director Larry Merrill explores township government’s past, and shares his thoughts on where the government closest to the people is headed.
Guest: MTA Executive Director Larry Merrill