By SHERRI KOLADE
HEIGHTS – Four-term Councilwoman Margaret Van Houten stepped down from her position March 27 to fill the governor-appointed position of Third Circuit Court judge.
“I am elated,” Van Houten said of the call she received from Gov. Rick Snyder March 26 about her new position. “I am very thankful for (the governor) giving me this opportunity… it is a real thrill.”
Snyder said in a press release that he is confident in Van Houten’s expertise for the job.
“Margaret is a great choice for this post,” Snyder said. “I am confident her knowledge, skills and extensive experiences will be an asset to the Wayne County Circuit Court bench,” he said.
Van Houten is taking up the judicial position from Beth Kelly, who turned in her resignation after being elected to the Michigan Supreme Court. Kelly was elected to the position in 2010.
Van Houten’s term ends January 1, 2013.
Van Houten, who has been active in the community and belongs to several organizations, including the Federalist Society-Michigan Lawyers Chapter, State Bar of Michigan, Wayne County Probate Bar Association, Kiwanis and Catholic Lawyers Society, among other groups, previously worked as associate attorney for Evans & Luptak PLC.
Van Houten began her legal career in the Third Circuit Court as a clerk for the current Michigan Supreme Court Justice Brian K. Zahara.
Council President Kenneth Baron said he has known “Margie” for about 37 years.
“She used to baby sit for our kids,” Baron said. “They are a super family, They have always been involved in all kinds of community things.”
Baron added that Van Houten will be missed for her legal expertise.
“It helped a lot to have someone on the council, as a council person and being an attorney,” he said. He added she will also be missed for her dedication to Dearborn Heights.
“Rarely does she ever miss a meeting,” he said.
The Council is currently looking to fill the vacant spot.
Baron said all resumes of interested applicants are due by April 16.
An applicant could be appointed April 24, after a council vote, Baron said.
“That would be the first available that we have… if not we will look at May 8. Hopefully (we can vote) someone in who has been involved and knows the city,” Baron added.
The four-year City Council term ends Dec. 31, 2013. If someone is appointed to the position they would have to file a petition to be reelected in November.
(Sherri Kolade can be reached at [email protected])