Michigan Townships Association

Yates Township leader earns credential in township governance

Blair Evans, who serves Yates Township (Lake Co.) on its planning commission, zoning board of appeals and board of review, has taken the next step to further enhance the effectiveness of his township by completing the Michigan Townships Association’s (MTA) Township Governance Academy (TGA). Through his participation in the intensive education program, Evans was able to learn enhanced tools and decision-making processes that can help positively impact Yates Township for years to come.

Evans was among the members of the Academy’s “Graduating Class of 2023” honored on stage during a recognition ceremony held April 18 at the Association’s Annual Educational Conference at the Grand Traverse Resort in Acme Township. The program helped to provide Evans with a strong foundation of the government closest to the people and the critical services that townships offer to residents.

“Some of the worst errors come from not knowing what you don’t know—or not even knowing that there is something to be known!” Evans said. “TGA gives a broad understanding and perspective of township governance, the functions and their connections. The program provides essential skills that apply to collaborating with people within government and in the community.”

TGA is a voluntary credentialing program intended to provide township board members and other local leaders with cutting-edge knowledge and expanded skills needed to assist in making more effective decisions for the benefit of their township. The Academy, which challenges candidates to tie together learning and practical experience, consists of 11 courses and includes a requirement for elective credits.

Created and administered by MTA, this program is designed to professionally challenge township officials by offering new ideas, sharing best practices and providing a hands-on approach to dealing more effectively with everyday issues that the board may face.

Evans has been a planning commissioner since 2020, and was appointed to the zoning board of appeals and board of review this year. He serves on Lake County’s economic development alliance and planning commission, and has been a Lake County Merry Maker board member since 2016.