Eileen Steadman hugs Mayor Dan Terbrack after she was recognized for her years of service on the Berkley City Council Nov. 18.

Eileen Steadman hugs Mayor Dan Terbrack after she was recognized for her years of service on the Berkley City Council Nov. 18.

Photo provided by Torri Mathes


Berkley honors Steadman for 22 years on City Council

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published November 22, 2019

 Steadman poses for a picture with former Mayor Phil O’Dwyer.

Steadman poses for a picture with former Mayor Phil O’Dwyer.

Photo provided by Torri Mathes

BERKLEY — Monday, Nov. 18, marked the final day that Eileen Steadman took her seat on the Berkley City Council after 22 years of public service.

Steadman, who decided earlier this year not to run for reelection, was recognized by the City Council at its most recent meeting for her years on the council. She had served on the council since 1997.

Many came before the council to speak about their time working with Steadman over her many years of service, from former Berkley Mayor Marilyn Stephan and Councilman Dale GoodCourage to current state legislators Robert Wittenberg and Mallory McMorrow.

Dan Terbrack has served with Steadman since 2007, as a councilman and in his current role as mayor, and he thanked her for the influence and guidance that she gave to him over the last 12 years.

“Your wisdom, your experience, your guidance, especially early on, was incredibly impactful,” he said. “You don’t understand the type of role model that you were, and showing me what it took to be a council member at that early age.”

Terbrack said that Steadman will continue to influence the city.

“You may be retiring from council, but you will continue to serve and volunteer in the community, and continue to have an impact on our city, just as you’ve done for all these decades.”

Also taking a couple of minutes to thank Steadman was previous Mayor Phil O’Dwyer, who wanted to highlight her service on the council in Berkley during “leaner times than we experience today.”

“There was a time in this city — and Eileen, you were only on the council maybe three or four years — when budgets were extremely tight,” he said. “They were so tight that many services that we enjoy today had to be cut, and Eileen was part of a council at that time that had to make those tough decisions.

“It’s easy to make the decisions when there’s money around, but when there isn’t money and things have to be cut back, it’s the most unpopular kind of situation. So we thank you for being there in the tough days for our city, and we’re happy to celebrate with you today.”

Steadman wasn’t new to public service before running for City Council, which she admitted she never intended to do. She had been involved in the PTA, taught special education classes in the Royal Oak school district and administered a parent-toddler program for children with mild-to-moderate delays.

Her public service only started when she was asked to serve on the Planning Commission in the mid-1990s. After a decision was made to not reappoint her, Steadman decided to run for the council in 1997.

“This is definitely a bittersweet goodbye, because I’m really going to miss it,” she said. “I’ve met and worked with so many extraordinary people that I couldn’t even begin to name them all.”

Steadman said that she is proud to have been a part of a time in the city when Berkley has been recognized by outside publications for being a great place to live in Michigan, which she attributed to not only the city government, but also its volunteers, the schools and all of the residents.

Back in 1997, Steadman remembered, Berkley had a “pathetic” fund balance of $55,000, which she said would not have “run the city for even an hour.” With some hard decisions and cutbacks, Berkley was able to turn things around and now has a fund balance of more than $4 million.

“Fiscal responsibility must, has to be, always a priority,” she said. “You can never, like, splurge, like maybe sometimes we would love to, because we never know when another 2008 is going to come around.”

While she hoped to be on the City Council long enough to be a part of building a new community center, Steadman joked that she simply hopes to live long enough to see one built, and she ended her speech by wishing the current council great success in the future.

“I want to thank everyone who has supported me in the past, and I want to thank those who wanted to support me this election,” she said. “I wish the new City Council the best of successes and accomplishments. I know that you are all only here because of your dedication to this city and all of its residents, and thank you very much for your future service.”