O’Dwyer, Graveline recognized for work on City Council

 Former Berkley Mayor Phil O’Dwyer was the subject of recognition and praise from residents and peers Nov. 20 for his 12 years of service to the city as a City Council member and mayor.

Former Berkley Mayor Phil O’Dwyer was the subject of recognition and praise from residents and peers Nov. 20 for his 12 years of service to the city as a City Council member and mayor.

Photo by Holly Mahaffey


By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published November 28, 2017

 During the Nov. 20 council meeting, former Councilwoman Colleen Graveline receives a tribute in her honor for her service to the city.

During the Nov. 20 council meeting, former Councilwoman Colleen Graveline receives a tribute in her honor for her service to the city.

Photo by Holly Mahaffey

BERKLEY — The City Council chambers in Berkley played host to a celebratory atmosphere as a number of people paid tribute to the careers of former Mayor Phil O’Dwyer and Councilwoman Colleen Graveline.

Current council and state congressional members, as well as former colleagues and school employees, offered their hearty thanks and well wishes to the two at the Nov. 20 meeting.

The council gave both O’Dwyer and Graveline resolutions in honor of their work over the years, with Mayor Pro Tem Steve Baker thanking the councilwoman for her leadership role both in the city and regionally.

“Your voice was appreciated and recognized not only here within the community, but also in those opportunities you had within the region and through the Michigan Municipal League,” he said. “You jumped right in, engaged in the programs and activities, immediately earned the respect of your fellow colleagues across the region, and that benefitted our city as well.”

Graveline thanked everyone for the opportunity and had no doubt the next City Council will carry the torch and make them all very proud.

“I would not consider myself a shining example, but rather all of you who showed me what it meant to actually be a council member,” she said. “The extent to which you guys take this job seriously is amazing and impressive, and I was honored to be part of your council and honored to serve all of you residents, neighbors, friends.”

Others in attendance who gave recognition to the two were state Rep. Robert Wittenberg and state Sen. Marty Knollenberg, with Wittenberg presenting a tribute signed by both him and Gov. Rick Snyder to the two.

Berkley Schools Superintendent Dennis McDavid and school board President Mary Jo Israel presented O’Dwyer with a resolution thanking him for his years of service and a thank-you plaque from the students and staff of Berkley High School. The plaque was made from the old Irish oak wood floor from the east gym.

Former Mayor Pro Tem Dale Goodcourage also brought in a bagpipe player from the Detroit Police Department to pay tribute to O’Dwyer.

Councilman Alan Kideckel said there were many things he could say, but beyond being an amazing leader, O’Dwyer was a great friend.

“As I’m laying in a hospital bed and we’re having meetings with the doctors, it’s Phil O’Dwyer who was there to hear what the doctors have to say,” he said. “When I need food because I can’t cook … Phil O’Dwyer is there. And as I said to you last night, the friendship will be there forever. It goes way beyond the city of Berkley and your leadership.”

Kideckel said there are going to be many legacies left behind by O’Dwyer, but the one that will outlast everyone is a sign on Interstate 696 that designates the Berkley exit.

“That was you who initiated that after all these years, and I appreciate that because now Berkey is on the road forever, where people can come home,” he said.

O’Dwyer thanked all the voters of Berkley for giving him an opportunity to serve on the council for 12 years, and thanked all the employees who work in the city every day.

“Hearing all those wonderful comments from my colleagues and the school district and former Mayor Pro Tem Dale Goodcourage, I had the thought, ‘Isn’t it wonderful to be alive and hear all these things?’” he said.