2017-02-26 / Insight

Al Ochadleus has served Attica Twp. for 35 years

BY PHIL FOLEY
810-452-2616 • pfoley@mihomepaper.com


After 35 years on the job Al Ochadleus, 72, still finds enjoyment in serving the residents of Attica Township. 
Photo by Phil Foley After 35 years on the job Al Ochadleus, 72, still finds enjoyment in serving the residents of Attica Township. Photo by Phil Foley ATTICA TWP. — Al Ochadleus describes himself as the “punk kid from the wrong side of the tracks who married the goody two shoes.”

Ochadleus, 72, grew up in Brown City and moved to Attica Township after he married Donna Buckingham. Donna’s family has been in the township more than 100 years, starting out as lumbermen before turning to farming.

They still live on land along Newark Road that Donna’s family were the first settlers on.

Ochadleus served on the Attica Township Board since 1982 and has been supervisor for the past 18 years. He was first appointed to the job when Tom Lupo moved to Goodland Township, forcing him to step down as township supervisor.

He first got involved in local government in 1980 when the local postman told him and Donna that the township was considering approving an overnight campground across the road from their home.

“Like everyone else, we just took for granted what was happening at the meetings,” Ochadleus recalled. The threat of the campground got him to go to meetings and become active in his community. In 1980 when a seat on the board opened up, he was appointed.

Ochadleus got his start emptying out sauerkraut vats at the Vlasic pickle plant in Imlay City fresh out of high school in 1962. “I was just arrogant enough to say, ‘Someday I’m going to run this place.’”

His wife urged him to go back to school. He did, and at 34 he retired as plant manager. “The good Lord has been good to the wife and I. We want for nothing,” he said.

Ochadleus is proud that during his tenure on the township board, the community has built a town hall, started and expanded a community park and built a modern fire hall. But he gives much of the credit to the board members that came before him and the ones that serve with him now. “This is a team,” he said.

“I enjoy the interaction with people,” he said, explaining why he continues to run. But he added, when he got elected to his latest four-year term last fall, “I promised the wife I would not run again.”

But, he added, last winter, “We rented a condo in Florida for five weeks and I was bored stiff after two.”

So now he said his future with the township, “depends on my health and if I’m still having fun. If you’re not having fun, you should change what you’re doing.”

Ochadleus still likes to serve the residents of Attica Township. “When I started this, my wife charged me with one thing, ‘The rules are for everybody.’” He said it’s been his guiding principle in township government ever since.

“The buddy system doesn’t exist.”

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