ST. JOSEPH — After spending the past decade as Berrien County’s chief deputy treasurer, Shelly Weich is ready for the next step.

On Tuesday, the Berrien County Treasurer Appointment Committee announced Weich was unanimously chosen to fill the vacant position for county treasurer.

Weich, 52, has been acting treasurer since April 6. Her appointment was made official Monday.

“The thought popped into my head once Bret (Witkowski) announced his resignation,” said Weich, a Baroda resident. “That’s when I started thinking about it. At that point, I felt I needed to do this.”

The Baroda resident has worked in the treasurer’s office for the last 12 years, 10 of which have been as chief deputy treasurer.

Weich was among four applicants to apply for the vacant position.

Witkowski announced he was stepping down as an elected official and taking a job with Abonmarche in February. His tenure with the county came to an end earlier this month.

Witkowski was elected as the county treasurer in 2004. His fourth four-year term as treasurer is up at the end of this year, which Weich said she intends to run for. The filing deadline to run for the office in the August primary election was Tuesday. It is not known if any other candidates filed to run against Weich, because the county clerk’s office did not release candidate filing information on Tuesday.

Weich’s appointment is for the remainder of the current term, ending Dec. 31, 2020.

The committee was comprised of Senior Probate Judge Mabel Mayfield, County Clerk Sharon Tyler and Prosecuting Attorney Michael Sepic.

At a scheduled meeting of the committee on Monday, Tyler made a motion to appoint Weich.

“I have worked with Shelly as the county clerk and I know she has a great amount of knowledge and responsibility with the local assessors, treasurers and schools,” Tyler said. “She has the ability to complete this four-year term of approximately eight months.”

Due to the pandemic and social distancing, committee members argued it would become difficult to train someone who has had no experience in the treasurer’s office.

The motion was seconded by Mayfield.

According to a news release from Sepic, given the state of emergency, filing deadlines, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the committee chose to appoint a replacement for the short remainder of the term rather than proceed with the full application review and interview process.

Contact: twittkowski@TheHP.com, 932-0358, Twitter: @TonyWittkowski