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Posted on Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

Janis Bobrin won't seek re-election as Washtenaw County's water resources commissioner

By Ryan J. Stanton

Long-time Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner Janis Bobrin says she won't be seeking re-election this year.

Instead, she's endorsing Evan Pratt's campaign to fill her shoes.

"After close to 24 years as drain commissioner, and now as water resources commissioner in Washtenaw County, I will not be running for re-election this November," Bobrin said in an open letter shared with Wednesday night.

"I have had wonderful and fulfilling years working to protect and restore Washtenaw County’s water resources and improve vital infrastructure," she said. "I could not have undertaken the work I have completed without this community as an active partner."

Pratt, an engineer for Spicer Group, has served for the last eight years on the Ann Arbor Planning Commission and is past chairman of the commission. He could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday night.


Janis Bobrin and family. After close to 24 years as drain commissioner, and now as water resources commissioner in Washtenaw County, she will not be running for re-election this November.

Courtesy photo

Bobrin said she's thrilled to be able to support Pratt, who plans to run on the Democratic ballot for water resources commissioner this year.

"I've known and worked with Evan for 15 years," Bobrin said. "No one could be more qualified to ensure that the Office of Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner continues as a leader in water resource protection than Evan."

Pratt, a 1987 graduate of MIT's civil and environmental engineering program, has been a Washtenaw County resident since 1989. He lives in Ann Arbor with his wife, Ana, a teacher, their children, ages 11, 8, and 5, plus three large dogs and two cats.

Bobrin pointed out Pratt has worked as a consultant to many of the communities and agencies in Washtenaw County, and he has experience on water resources projects aimed at addressing water quality and quantity issues in Southeast Michigan.

"His expertise includes stormwater quality and management, capital improvement project management and funding, and public works budgeting," Bobrin said. "He knows the Drain Code from his years working with Michigan's Drain and Water Resources Commissioners."


Evan Pratt

Pratt has been a member of the Huron River Watershed Council's board of directors since 2003, serving as treasurer and now chairman.

He also has served on a variety of boards and committees, including the Washtenaw County Planning Advisory Board, Huron River Impoundment Management Committee and Statewide Stormwater Low Impact Development Design Manual Advisory Committee.

His professional affiliations include the Michigan Association of Planning, American Planning Association and the Michigan Chapter of the American Public Works Association, including service as treasurer and president.

Pratt sparked some discussion two years ago when he remarked at an Ann Arbor Planning Commission retreat: "All the entrances to town are ugly."

In an email she shared with many of her supporters Wednesday night, Bobrin gave thanks to the Washtenaw County community as she steps down.

"It has been the support I have received from Washtenaw County public officials and citizens that allowed me to undertake projects and programs that are improving the health of local waterways and have won state and national recognition," she said. "This community has provided me with great friends and colleagues. I cannot thank you enough."

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.


Joe Baublis

Wed, May 30, 2012 : 2:25 a.m.

The establishment political party has controlled Washtenaw County for 30 years and now - surprise - the county is deeply in dept and essentially unable to resolve yearly budget deficits for the foreseeable future. Thank you to the controlling party. We don't need technical expertise at the commissioners level, we need principles and fiscal restraint. In order to achieve that, the voters need to change the establishment. Eric Scheie is the drain commissioner candidate who offers change and principle.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 2:06 p.m.

Glad you are not seeking reelection. Too bad you endorsed Pratt. He just lost my vote.


Fri, Mar 30, 2012 : 7:27 p.m.

"His expertise includes stormwater quality and management, capital improvement project management and funding, and public works budgeting," All well and good, but what about flood control?


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 3:42 p.m.

Evan Pratt is correct when he states that we have ugly entrances to the city, ESPECIALLY North Main St. w/ its burnt out or abandoned homes and gas station. Now we have an ugly water feature, 3/4 million dollar work of art, at Huron and Fifth. Perhaps the German artist was inspired by N. Main St.

Jeff Irwin

Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 3:37 p.m.

Big thanks to Janis Bobrin for her dedication to water resources in our county. I am honored to have had the opportunity to work with her on drain projects. Her professionalism and that of her team was and is impressive.