Kangas’ state board appointment a wise selection

State appointments very often can fall into a kind of political largesse category; favors are repaid and statuses rewarded with locals being placed on various commissions and boards, destined to produce reports and findings that no one sees or cares about.

By all accounts, that is not the case with the panel that Chocolay Township Manager Jon Kangas was named to recently. Kangas was appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder in July to the Michigan Infrastructure Council, a state committee tasked with devising a road map for fixing infrastructure statewide including drinking water, wastewater, stormwater, electric and broadband services.

The nine-member body faces a substantive challenge: to devise a statewide asset management database, facilitate a data collection strategy and produce a 30-year infrastructure investment and management strategy for infrastructure across the state, according to a Mining Journal story on the matter.

Kangas, who worked for many years for the city of Ishpeming in the roles of city engineer, public works director and interim city manager, will be the Upper Peninsula’s lone representative.

“There are five critical elements of an asset management plan, and No. 4 is the revenue structure,” Kangas said in part for the story. “Basically, how do you make sure you have the money sitting in the bank when you need to do something. I can tell you, the smaller the utility, the less likely they are going to have money socked away.”

Because of his diverse background — in addition to his municipal experience, he holds memberships in the American Society of Engineers, the American Public Works Association and the Michigan Rural Water Works Association — Kangas will more than hold his own with the other appointees from downstate.

Gov. Snyder got this one right.