2017-02-26 / Insight

Almont’s Steve Schneider: Public service ‘one of pillars of my life’

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


Almont Village President Steve Schneider says farewell to outgoing village council members Richard Tobias and Richard Laur last December. But after 22 years on council, he has no plans to say farewell himself anytime soon. 
Photo by Phil Foley Almont Village President Steve Schneider says farewell to outgoing village council members Richard Tobias and Richard Laur last December. But after 22 years on council, he has no plans to say farewell himself anytime soon. Photo by Phil Foley ALMONT — Some people die with their boots on. Almont Village President Steve Schneider plans to be one of them.

Public service, Schneider said, “is one of the very pillars of my life.”

Schneider’s been a member of the Almont Village Council for 22 years and president for 19 of them.

Born in Detroit, Schneider, 73, said “I’ve always been interested in politics.”

He met his late wife, Sylvia, through a mutual acquaintance in the early 1980s while he was practicing law in Lake Orion. They married in 1985. She was from Almont and in 1994 they moved there.

Schneider enjoys Lapeer County because, “People say what they mean and mean what they say. You can make a deal on a handshake. That’s not something you can do down there.”

Schneider said he “flourished” as a person and a lawyer in the Almont community.

“Part of the thrill of it,” he said “is the direct contact with constituents. You have to take a leadership position. It feels genuine and sincere.”

If there’s a downside to public service, he said, it’s that it eats up a lot of your personal time.

As a village official, Schneider doesn’t run for president or even against another candidate per se. Village voters vote for candidates at large and the top voter getters receive the open seat.

Council members then choose who’ll be president. Schneider believes it’s a good system. “Who knows better who to lead them than council members?” he asked.

“We’ve got a good council. We work well together and get a lot done,” he said. “Almost all the time we find a solution that’s satisfactory for the community.”

Schneider said the prime motivation to move to Almont was to find a better environment for their sons. And they found it.

“We tried to bring our sons up to do something meaningful with their lives,” he said. “I always told the boys, ‘You need to do something that gives purpose to your life and leave the world a better place.”

His stepson, Vito Antonelli, is in construction on the west side of the county, and his son Steve C. Schneider was elected to the village council in November.

“I truly see my function in life as a problem solver,” Schneider said, “whether it’s as a lawyer for a client or as an elected official for the citizens of Almont.”

Schneider ran unsuccessfully for judge early in his career and over the years has been approached about running for county commission and state representative. But, he said, “I’ve found my niche in life. I’m satisfied with what I’m doing.”

Schneider likes the fact that he “can take action and see the results right away. You feel effective.”

Both as a lawyer and a public servant, Schneider said “I have no plans for retirement as long as I have the ability do the job.”

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