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Alex Milshteyn, WCC Trustee

Last week, the WCC Board of Trustees selected Alex Milshteyn to fill the vacancy created by Richard Landau’s resignation. Milshteyn will complete the remainder of Landau’s term, which expires December 31, 2024.

Milshteyn had been serving as the WTMC Board Secretary until his appointment to the WCC Board of Trustees. If you would like to know more about Alex Milshteyn, you can currently find his bio on the WTMC website.

Milshteyn also ran for a seat on the WCC Board of Trustees in 2014. In that election, he finished 6th of 8 candidates. You can find his campaign finance filings on the Washtenaw County website. Campaign finance filings for WCC Trustee candidates are always interesting. They either show candidates who spend $10K-$20K on their campaigns or candidates who spend almost nothing on a campaign. Milshteyn falls into the former category.

I’ve always wondered why someone would spend $10K+ on a WCC Trustee campaign, when clearly, most candidates can have a seat for less than $1,000 – if that. In Milshteyn’s case, he enjoyed the financial backing of real estate political action committees and dozens of supporters. He outspent every other candidate in the race, availed himself of a campaign strategy consultant, and ended up with an unsuccessful result.

In December 2022, six of the seven WCC trustees were from Ann Arbor. Following Landau’s resignation and Milshteyn’s appointment last week, the geographic balance of the WCC board now includes six Ann Arbor trustees. This is notable because Ann Arbor doesn’t actually supply most of WCC’s property tax collections, which leaves the rest of Washtenaw County woefully underrepresented on WCC’s Board. The last Ypsilanti resident to serve on the Board was David Rutledge. Prior to that, it was Ann Cleary Kettles.

Alex Milshteyn brings a classic conflict along for the ride

Milshteyn also brings to the Board the classic real estate conflict of interest problem. As a Board member, he may be asked to seek new tax revenue from the district’s taxpayers. Yet, as a real estate agent, rising property taxes could result in lower sales volume for him and his firm. So, even when seeking a tax increase is in the best interest of the institution fiscally speaking, doing so may remove money from his own pocket. (Which is why real estate agents don’t make ideal board members and also why they seek out board seats so often at institutions with taxing authority.)

Alex Milshteyn may make a brilliant WCC Trustee. So far, he’s more of the same. WCC still needs Trustees from Not Ann Arbor. It also needs Trustees who don’t come pre-packaged with conflicts of interest that jeopardize the best interests of the taxpayers and the students. When given the opportunity to choose something different, the WCC Trustees chose more of the same.

Photo Credit: Andre Schrei , via Flickr