Aubry reflects on time with Hazel Park City Council

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published January 22, 2021

 Amy Aubry

Amy Aubry

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HAZEL PARK — Much has happened in the life of Amy Aubry since she joined the Hazel Park City Council in November 2017. Now she has moved out of town, creating a vacancy on the council. At press time, the city was vetting applications for her replacement. Aubry officially resigned Dec. 8.

“My life has changed drastically,” Aubry said.

After she was elected in 2017, she was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2018 and underwent six months of chemotherapy and immunotherapy in 2019, all while continuing to attend council meetings, plan projects like the Hazel Park Art Fair and work full-time. She also developed an allergy to the sun that further complicated matters.

It wasn’t until six months after finishing her first round of treatment and preparing for the second round that she experienced a spontaneous remission. It put things into perspective for her.

“I have been a public servant for the past decade, putting all my energy into serving others. However, this experience has led me to approach life differently and put a little more energy into taking care of myself,” Aubry said.

So when an opportunity arose to purchase a forested property out of town with almost two acres and a creek, she and her partner decided to take it.

“I’ve always been connected to nature,” Aubry said.

Her first attempt running for council was in 2015, when she took issue with an ordinance that the city had passed banning pit bulls.

“I became more enraged over the years, and I felt I could offer a younger and different perspective in the community,” Aubry said. The ban was repealed after she joined the council, replaced with a Dangerous Dog Ordinance that she said is more fair.

Implementing the city’s marijuana ordinance was another challenge, she said.

“The target was constantly moving with the requirements,” Aubry said. “We had to create a program from scratch with our own ordinance, applications, procedures, etc. These things take time to create and launch.”

She said she’s proud of her efforts to have the city’s master plan updated. The process was completed last year and marked the first time the plan had been updated in 20 years. She said she was happy to see the implementation of bike lanes along John R Road to accompany the road diet that had been planned prior to her election.

Aubry had lived in Hazel Park since 2011, the same year she earned her master’s degree in public administration. She has worked as a policy analyst for various legislative bodies since then, including the Wayne County Board of Commissioners, the Detroit City Council and, currently, the Oakland County Board of Commissioners.

“It’s tough but rewarding,” Aubry said of public service. “Especially at the local level, it gives you an opportunity to have a direct impact on people’s lives. You should try your best to make that a positive one.

“I’d like to thank the residents of Hazel Park for having faith in me to represent them and fight for a better Hazel Park,” she said. “I’d also like to thank all my fellow council members and people of the administration for all their support in bringing to life my visions for the city.”

This won’t be the last Hazel Park sees of Aubry, either. She plans to continue serving on the city’s Arts Council, and she will continue serving as chair of the Hazel Park Art Fair Planning Committee.

    
A fond farewell
In a series of emails, colleagues on the Hazel Park City Council wished her well.

“The departure of Amy Aubry caught me completely by surprise,” said Andy LeCureaux, the mayor pro tem. “2021 was going to be the year that Amy was up for reelection. Now the focus will be on finding someone to serve the remainder of her term, which ends in November of this year.

“Amy brought many qualities to her time of service, but I will remember her for her heart,” LeCureaux said. “She cared deeply for the residents and the issues that confronted us all. She wanted Hazel Park to be the best we could be together. Amy took leadership roles in the Hazel Park Arts Council and co-chaired our awesome Art Fair the last few years. … I wish Amy the best in all her future endeavors, and thank her for her time of service.”

Hazel Park City Councilwoman Alissa Sullivan joined the council alongside Aubry in 2017. They ran for office together.

“Our run was absolutely a team effort, and I can’t imagine having gotten to where we are without her, both as a City Council and as a city,” Sullivan said.

She commended Aubry’s integrity and deep understanding of policy and procedure, as well as her eye for catching details that sometimes went overlooked by others.

“I learned so much from her knowledge, and that helps me to be a better elected official — it helps all of us on council,” Sullivan said. “Her ability to research and organize data is indispensable, and I will miss that, because she has such a unique, analytical way of looking at questions and concerns. I admire her enthusiasm towards her job and her volunteer work.”

Ed Klobucher, the city manager, said that Aubry played a key role in the master plan process, as well as the Hazel Park Nature Initiative, the Hazel Park Art Fair and more.

“Amy Aubry was a tireless advocate for arts and cultural initiatives in our community,” he said.

Klobucher also spoke to how involved council service can be.

“Being a City Council member is often more difficult than people think it is. It isn’t just about going to meetings and cutting ribbons,” Klobucher said. “During the course of my tenure, I’ve watched city officials have to make some very unpopular decisions, like raising fees and advocating for tax increases, as well as cutting employees and reducing services.

“Thankfully, Hazel Park was blessed with brave, forward-thinking City Councils during those tough times, because the decisions that were made then kept Hazel Park from state control, and laid the groundwork for the growth and progress we are seeing today,” Klobucher said. “Council members make a very small amount of money to do a job that requires a great deal of effort.”

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