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June 21, 2013

Binson named to fill council vacancy in Center Line

By Brian Louwers
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
Robert “Bob” Binson, front left, was sworn in to serve on the Center Line City Council June 19. Binson will serve the remainder of Council member Roy Gillette Sr.’s term. Gillette passed away May 21.

CENTER LINE — Members of the Center Line City Council voted 3-1 June 19 to appoint Robert Binson to fill the vacancy created by the death of Council member Roy Gillette Sr. last month.

Binson, of Center Line, is the vice president of customer service and clinical services for Binson’s Home Health Care Centers, where he also serves as the director of public and political affairs.

He previously served on the board of the city’s Downtown Development Authority, and lists a history of community involvement and philanthropic work on his résumé.

Center Line Mayor David Hanselman told those assembled for a special meeting that council members had several names brought forward since Gillette’s death, and that he had spoken to quite a few people who expressed an interest in serving.

“There was a few of them I thought would have absolutely been a great addition to the council and this city,” Hanselman said.

He went on to cite the Binson family’s strong ties to the city of Center Line, were Binson still lives with his family.

Center Line Council member Mary Hafner made the motion to approve Binson’s appointment, seconded by Council member Nick Chakur.

“I know that Mr. Binson will serve in this capacity honorably,” Hanselman said after the vote. “He’s been very community oriented over the many years. I’m looking forward to working with Bob and the rest of the council over the next few years, I hope, and moving our community forward as we have in the past few years.”

Binson, who was accompanied by family members, including his wife, Rebecca, and daughters, Alyssa and Christina, said he was born and raised in Center Line and bought a home in the city when he was old enough to do so.

“While I really appreciate the opportunity, I’m humbled by the fact that you think I’m going to do such a good job,” Binson said.

He added, “I not only have a business in the community, but I am a resident and I have a lot of respect for the community.”

Hafner said she was “thrilled to death” by the appointment and “very impressed” with Binson’s accomplishments over the years, and that he chose to remain in Center Line, where he’s been an active member of the Center Line Lions.

According to his bio, Binson also served as the president of the Home Medical Equipment Association of Michigan, the chairman of the Karmanos Cancer Institute East Region Board of Trustees, and the Macomb County Rotating Emergency Shelter Team’s board.

“I just can’t say enough about how very impressed I am and how fortunate we are to have you to serve as a council person,” Hafner said. “I thank you and I thank your family, too.”

Center Line Mayor Pro-Tem Ron Lapham cast the lone vote against the appointment and indicated it was rooted in a concern over the procedure and not about Binson or his qualifications for the job.

Lapham alleged he was the last council member contacted by Hanselman about the appointment and that he felt the votes needed to approve it were obtained one-by-one by the mayor before he was called.

Hanselman and Hafner later denied that was the case.

“I was the last to be called and he had already secured the votes for this position,” Lapham said. “Why should the mayor be the only one to decide on who the candidate would be, and then secure the votes behind closed doors?”

Center Line City Manager and Clerk John Michrina said by city charter, the council had 30 days to appoint someone to fill the vacancy created by Gillette’s death.

Binson will serve the remainder of Gillette’s term set to expire in November 2015.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Brian Louwers at brianlouwers@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1089.