A push for new leadership in Baldwin

At Baldwin Township’s September board meeting, Jeff Holm announced he was stepping down as chair. The decision emerged partly out of necessity when he began working in Baxter and living in Cross Lake during the work week to cut down on commuting time. He still came to Baldwin for evening meetings, but he wasn’t able to undertake regular daytime duties such as payroll approval on Monday mornings.

But Jeff had a broader plan in mind when he stepped down.

“This is a good opportunity for getting some new leadership in,” he said.

He’s been feeling for a while that others deserve the chance and maybe even need a push to emerge as leaders in the township. Because he plans to leave the board in March, when his term is up, he thought stepping down now could allow someone else a chance to get used the position while he’s still on the board to help guide them.

But come Dec. 1, Jeff will be chair again, likely until his term is completed in March.

When Jeff stepped down, Jim Oliver was appointed as his replacement. But in November, Jim announced he’s selling his Baldwin home and moving out of Baldwin. The board appointed Jeff as his replacement, with a few modifications. Jay Swanson will be assistant chair and will take charge of approving payroll and other daytime obligations that Jeff can’t meet.

While he’ll be serving as chair again soon, Jeff is still consciously pushing himself into the background of projects, hoping others will seize the reigns.

“I’m maxed out in leadership experience in Baldwin,” he said.

He’s still taking a big role in the Healthy Communities Partnership work that the Initiative Foundation has helped with in the township, but he’s not serving as chair or co-chair for that either. He thinks it’s time for volunteers to take over center stage, and he’s interested in behind-the-scenes work, such as with economic development.

“We have these actors who are taking roles and taking leadership,” Jeff said, “and I have kind of reserved myself as, you know, if you have a problem come to me.”

His plan is working well enough that he overheard another board member telling a resident he wasn’t even involved in the Young Park project. In reality he’s been hard at work helping to keep the ball rolling, but quietly letting others lead the way.

You can see videos and read more about Baldwin’s background and challenges at the Baldwin topic page Ground Level created earlier this year.

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