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16 file to run for unexpired City Council term in St. Clair Shores

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published July 2, 2020

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — City Council will spend about two hours of a Saturday morning hearing from residents vying to join their ranks.

Sixteen candidates filed to fill the unexpired term of Councilman Peter Rubino, who died April 27 from cancer. Although City Council had previously considered whittling down the list of candidates to a group of finalists, having 16 candidates “makes it a little more manageable to be able to get it done in a morning,” said City Manager Matthew Coppler.

More than 30 people applied the previous time there was a vacancy on council in 2011, he said, leading to the suggestion of a list of finalists, but the city decided to hear from all candidates this time.

The 16 candidates will each get seven minutes to make a presentation to City Council, beginning at 9 a.m. July 25. Coppler said the current members of City Council and the mayor are taking these weeks between the filing deadline and the presentations to call and ask candidates any questions they have as there will not be a question-and-answer period July 25.

“It’s going to provide everyone the opportunity to present not only to the mayor and council, but to the residents,” he said.

The presentations will be open to the public. They will also be livestreamed on the online media center at scsmi.net/civicmedia and on the SCS-TV cable channel, and then will be rebroadcast at a later date.

City Council plans to decide on a resident to fulfill Rubino’s unexpired term of office, which would have run through November 2021, at the Aug. 17 City Council meeting.

According to the candidates’ applications, Matthew Bush has lived in St. Clair Shores for five years and is in real estate sales with Re/Max First of St. Clair Shores. He is the division director of the Pinto boys baseball league for the St. Clair Shores Baseball Softball Association, and said in his application he has always been fascinated by local government. He wants to help further the growth of St. Clair Shores by helping businesses to succeed and continuing the wellbeing of residents in the community. He said St. Clair Shores is a big city with a small-city mentality that is ready for the next generation of leadership.

Kristine Crook has lived in the city for two years. She is a realtor and temporary housing coordinator with eXp Realty/Kristine Crook Home in St. Clair Shores. She is a member of the Grosse Pointe Board of Realtors Fair Housing and Diversity Committee, a founding member of a women’s 12-step group, a crochet teacher with St. Clair Shores Adult Education and an activist. She said she wants to serve on City Council to create a kinder, more helpful community, to be a voice for unheard members of the community, and to root out racism and bigotry in the community to make St. Clair Shores a place of cooperation. She would like to see more diversity among the members of City Council.

Joseph Fresard has lived in St. Clair Shores for seven years. He is a staff attorney with the UAW Legal Services Plan and is the chair of the St. Clair Shores Cool City Committee, which has given him many opportunities to work with city employees and community leaders, he said. He is also a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and trustee of the Catholic Lawyers Society of Detroit. Fresard said he has deep roots in the community; his family has lived in St. Clair Shores since before the city’s founding. He believes Rubino’s passing was a great loss to the city and wants to continue the work Rubino was doing to support, improve and promote the community.

Mindi Giorlando-Timmins was raised in the city and recently moved back to St. Clair Shores more than two years ago. She is a facilities manager for Woodside Bible Church in Royal Oak and 1999 Miss St. Clair Shores. She said St. Clair Shores is a large city with a small-town feel, and because it helped make her the person she is today, she feels she has a responsibility to give back to the city. The U.S. Coast Guard veteran said her military training has helped her hone the skill of diplomacy and she wants to make residents feel heard when they bring a concern before City Council.

Henry Goitz lived in the city in the 1990s and moved back to St. Clair Shores in 2005; he has resided in the city since then. Goitz works for the Detroit Medical Center as a sports medicine physician and is a clinical professor for Michigan State University. He wants to serve the city and give back to the community where he raised his two children. He believes that his medical background will be useful to the city during the pandemic and wants to bring fresh ideas and new perspectives to City Council.

  Nicholas Handy has lived in St. Clair Shores for 10 years. The bar manager at Country Club of Detroit in Grosse Pointe Farms said he is an active volunteer with the different activities his daughter is involved in, including dance, cheer, ice skating and softball, as well as with St. Margaret of Scotland Church. He said he has pride in the city and wants to take a more active role in maintaining it. Handy said he takes a pragmatic approach to problem solving and would consider every decision from the standpoint of what is in the best interest of the city.

Sarah Lanyon has lived in St. Clair Shores for more than two years. She is an operations manager for Honigman LLP. She and her family are active in the community and have also been members of the Jefferson Yacht Club for several years. Lanyon is a member of the St. Clair Shores Memorial Day Parade Committee, which she said has helped her develop camaraderie with other members of the community, and a Scooters Shooters soccer coach. She thinks the city has done a good job with development, but would like to see St. Clair Shores’ downtown and Nautical Mile become a hub for visitors.

Justin Maniaci has lived in St. Clair Shores for 15 years and is a licensed insurance agent providing insurance and financial services. He is an active member of the Jefferson Yacht Club and a former local basketball and baseball coach. He said he wants to take an active role in making St. Clair Shores a great place to raise a family and plans to live in the city with his family. He said he wants to support the community, is pro-small business and knows many local shop owners.

Duane Michno is a 36-year resident of the city who retired in 2013 from being the vice president of an automotive business. His 35 years of volunteer work with the city have helped him gain an understanding of how city government functions, he said. He has volunteered with the St. Clair Shores Memorial Day Parade Committee and the Activities Committee, has served on the St. Clair Shores Zoning Board of Appeals and the Board of Fence Appeals, and volunteers with the Optimist Club of St. Clair Shores, Shorewood Kiwanis, and the St. Clair Shores Goodfellows, among other organizations. Michno said he wants to contribute even more as a team player to make the city better and has the interest, time and experience to do so.

Gordon Miskelly has lived in the city for more than 50 years. He is a financial controller for Kimberly Fence and is president of the Lakeview Athletic Booster Club. Miskelly said he wants to be an asset to the city and makes tough financial decisions every day, so he would have the experience to bring to the City Council table. Because his children are getting older, Miskelly said he has the time to devote to being on council and would be a great resource for taxpayers.

Jennifer Oresti has lived in the city for three years and is the department secretary and fitness instructor for Beaumont Health in Grosse Pointe. She believes it is important to be part of the community and said that her experience in many lines of work, from the restaurant industry to healthcare, as well as the non-judgmental observation skills she has honed as a yoga instructor, would serve her well on City Council. She feels that serving in political office is the best way she can utilize her skills to help others.

David Rubello is a past member of City Council who has lived in St. Clair Shores for 34 years. He said he wants to serve out Rubino’s term because he believes he has many of the same beliefs that Rubino had, including a conservative financial approach, and has the experience to oversee the performance of city departments, mediate issues between the city and residents, and keep city services running smoothly. The account representative for C & G Newspapers is the chair of the St. Clair Shores Activities Committee, is a member of the St. Clair Shores Waterfront Environmental Committee, Memorial Day Parade Committee, Aqua Fest Committee, Optimist Club, and Lac Ste. Clair Kiwanis Club, among other affiliations.

Michael Smiatacz is a 40-year resident of St. Clair Shores and a realtor with Rocket Homes Real Estate in Detroit. He volunteers with local food banks and the Michigan Veterans Foundation. He said he wants to serve on council because he feels it is his turn to give back to the city. He said he is guided by integrity, which informs every decision he makes.

Lawanda Turner has lived in St. Clair Shores for eight years. She is a real estate agent with The Ethical Experts: A Real Estate Company in Bloomfield Hills and has volunteered with the St. Clair Shores Waterfront Environmental Committee and sponsors Thanks Through Sharing, which raises money for non-profits around Thanksgiving. She sees herself as an active public servant who wants to get involved rather than complaining about the issues. Turner said she has desired to serve and be involved with the city since she moved to St. Clair Shores and she tries to stay abreast of all changes in the community, for the good or bad.

Bradley Vendittelli is an 8-year resident of the city and a supervisor in the turning department of INCOE Corporation in Auburn Hills. He is a member of the St. Clair Shores Golf Club, a contributor to Kathy’s Kids Foundation for ALS, and team coordinator for an annual softball tournament to benefit the Macomb Intermediate School District. He said he would like to increase beautification projects around the city and wants to work collaboratively with surrounding communities to clean and preserve the Great Lakes and Lake St. Clair. Vendittelli said it’s best to use clear, precise and consistent communication to address and resolve conflicts.

David Wheeler has lived for three years in St. Clair Shores. The armed base security officer for DK Security at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township volunteers with the homeless in Detroit and Macomb County, helping them secure food and shelter. He said he’s looking to make a difference in the community by bringing integrity, honesty and leadership to City Council.

The complete applications can be viewed at scsmi.net/167/City-Council.

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