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December 12, 2012

Six council applicants make short list

By Terry Oparka
C & G Staff Writer

The council moved forward to fill the empty seat at the City Council table during its Dec. 3 meeting and winnowed the 41 applicants down to six in a brief study session held after that meeting.

Mayor Dane Slater resigned his seat on the council before the council appointed him as mayor Nov. 26.

Although a judge could force the city to have a special election to fill the mayoral seat, the city charter requires that the council appoint someone to fill a vacated council seat within 30 days, Troy City Attorney Lori Grigg Bluhm said. A hearing on the question of a special election is scheduled for Dec. 12, after the Dec. 13 issue of the Troy Times went to press.

Slater could run for mayor, if the judge orders a special election, but he would not return to his former seat on the council due to his resignation, Bluhm said. Voters recalled former Mayor Janice Daniels by 1,770 votes Nov. 6. 

The council appointee would serve until the November election in 2013.

“I never imagined we’d have 41 (applicants),” Slater said.

“We should start with a bigger pool and whittle it down and build consensus,” council member Maureen McGinnis said.

Each council member named their top five choices from the pool of 41 for a total of eight names, and then chose four candidates each from that pool, which resulted in six finalists for the seat.

“I think it’s fair,” Mayor Pro Tem Wade Fleming said.

The six finalists are Edward Pennington, Kessie Kaltsounis, Richard Beaubien, Burt Copple, Daniel Fair and Carmen Johnson.

Each council member plans to ask the same question to the six candidates at the Dec. 17 meeting. The candidates will be sequestered during the interview process so they do not hear the six questions ahead of time.

Beaubien is a civil engineer, licensed real estate broker, member of the Troy Kiwanis and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. When asked on the application why he wanted to serve, he said, “Serve citizens of Troy and promote excellence in service to citizens and business community.”

Copple works for Home Instead Senior Care, owns Zappy Bounce in Troy, is a U.S. Army veteran, chaired “Be a Santa to a Senior,” and earned a master’s degree from Liberty University. “I firmly believe that local politics should rise above partisan debate and should elevate the conversation to enhance, empower, and protect the lives of those who live in the community and enable/promote business development,” he said in his application.

Fair is a retired manufacturing engineer, a licensed commercial builder, past volunteer for the Troy Community Coalition, and earned a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University. “As a resident for over 30 years, I feel I know the city extremely well,” he said in his application. “I have attended Troy City Council meetings from time to time and watch almost all on the city’s web broadcasts.”

Johnson works in internal communications for AT&T, is a board member of the Deaf Community Advocacy Network, is an American Sign Language certified interpreter and earned a master’s degree from Davenport University. “This city is my home,” Johnson said in her application. “I want to ensure that it continues to be a vibrant community for future generations.”

Kaltsounis was founder and director of Creative Corner Learning Center, served on the Avondale School District Board of Education, was named Troy Distinguished Citizen for 2008 and earned a master’s degree from Oakland University. “Because of my experience in business, school board and volunteering, I bring to the table a well-rounded view of matters that will affect the city and its residents,” she said in her application.

Pennington owns and manages Pennington Collision, served as vice president of the Troy Athens High School Athletic Boosters for six years and completed management and business development courses. “My family and business have been in Troy since 1968,” he said in his application. “This is a way I can give back to a community that has served me since then.”

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Terry Oparka at toparka@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1054.