Dec. 29 2016 08:18 AM

Poverty agency director likes Schertzing as successor

THURSDAY, Dec. 29 — The retirement-minded executive director of Capital Area Community Services thinks Ingham County Treasurer Eric Schertzing would make a fine replacement for him.

“I’d be very happy with him” if CACS’ board tapped Schertzing for the job, Ivan Love Jr. said today.

Schertzing, who was just reelected as treasurer last month, said yesterday he is interested in Love’s job.

His interest surfaced after state Rep. Andy Schor confirmed that a number of people have encouraged him to seek the treasurer’s job should Schertzing move on. Schor, D-Lansing, said the encouragement came from people associated with Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero. Schor is strongly considering running against Bernero next year. Bernero has not responded to requests for comment.

Schertzing has served on CACS’ board for 15 years, which Love said would be a big plus in taking over the top spot in the private nonprofit organization that operates Head Start and other poverty and low-income programs in Ingham, Eaton, Clinton and Shiawassee counties. The federally funded organization has a $25 million annual budget and 450 employees, Love said.

Referring to Schertzing, Love said in a telephone interview, “If you look at what he has done as treasurer with the Land Bank and all the assistance programs, I think he could do a fine job.”

“He would have a lot of administrative stuff to learn,” Love said, but his background on the board would be a big benefit — a head start, so to speak.

Love said he wasn’t endorsing Schertzing. “I have no say in the board’s decision.”

Love, who is 71 and has served as executive director for 40 years, said he told the board last March that it was time to begin planning for a successor.

“Initially, I said a year, maybe start looking after the first of the year,” he said. “I’d stay on until the new director is comfortable.

“My goal is not a date,” Love continued. “It’s to do what’s best for the agency.”

He said the board appointed a selection committee, which is headed by Julie Powers, executive director of the Greater Lansing Housing Coalition. He said the board would recommend his successor to the regional Head Start office, which would have to sign off on it.

All of that was before Donald Trump was elected president, which Love said has muddied his retirement plans.

“The people Trump appointed are very opposed to what we do,” Love said.

The agency could be defunded or see its funding reduced, requiring a “major reorganization,” he said.

Love said he is paid $120,723.20 a year, but said the new director might start at less. Schertzing’s salary as treasurer will be $99,800 starting New Year’s Day.

Schertzing said yesterday that “I absolutely love being Ingham County treasurer, but “it’s healthy to look at other options.”

“When you look at CACS, they do anti-poverty and literacy work — the opportunity to create change in appealing,” he added.