Beverly Hills council gives Koss tearful sendoff

By: Robin Ruehlen | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published November 14, 2012

BEVERLY HILLS — There was laughter, jokes and tears as the Beverly Hills Village Council bid farewell to President Rosanne Koss inside crowded chambers on Nov. 5. 

Most notably, there was immense praise and appreciation from her colleagues and residents for her eight years of service during what were several of the most challenging years in Village history.

President Pro-Tem Walter Briggs presented Koss with a proclamation and a plaque at the end of the meeting, which was Koss’ last before taking her seat as a trustee for Southfield Township.

“A couple of things I really admire about Rosanne are that she takes the time to really understand an issue, know the details and learn both sides,” Briggs said.

“She recognizes that what we need in this community is solutions, and not partisan bickering back and forth. She recognizes there are no Republican roads or Democratic roads – that we need to get them paved, keep the sewers running and keep our village protected. She brought a calmer atmosphere to this meeting and ensures they run smoothly and effectively, and that residents are respected.”

Southfield Township Treasurer Janet Mooney described Koss as someone who has worked tirelessly to fulfill the obligations of her role, “which she has taken more seriously than almost anyone I know.”

“Rosanne doesn’t take anyone’s word. She researches and researches until she has all the facts, and she made herself available to all residents – always respecting their points of view, but not always agreeing,” Mooney said.

“She has never expected or received credit for the many positive changes that have occurred in our town; she just wanted to get them done. Things don’t happen by osmosis, they happen by strong leadership – people willing to govern in good times and in bad. Rosanne is that person.”

Koss has served on council since March of 2004. She was selected as president pro tem in November of 2007, and as president in November 2010.  Most who spoke at the Nov. 5 meeting credited Koss’ unifying presence on council as being instrumental in the passage of a crucial public safety millage in November of 2010. The millage had failed previously in 2008.

Resident Andrea Gilles Briggs thanked Koss for brining respect and “a quiet civility” back to council proceedings.

“That is something I’ve greatly appreciated in her tenure, as well as her knowledge, common sense and can-do attitude,” Gilles Briggs said.

Councilman John Mooney said he considers two “greats” in the history of council presidents – Ed Pugh, who served several decades ago, and Rosanne Koss.

“In 1986-87, we were on brink of bankruptcy. We were about to lose 25 percent of our income and public safety department and there was no mechanism by which we could save library and other things. With a lot of effort by Ed Pugh, we saved the village for almost 30 years. Two years ago, we were faced with another crisis,” he said.

“Rosanne answers her phone day and night, and takes every complaint given. She has always been approachable — that’s why she gets the calls and I don’t.”

Councilman Brian LaFerriere lauded Koss as “a woman of absolute integrity, honesty, fairness, warmth and caring.”

“You have defined what a leader should be — someone who gains consensus by listening, by thinking, by crafting decisions that are in our best interest as a — group,” he said.

“You have shown us what government for and by the people should be, and I’ve been astounded at the way you’ve done it.”

With tears in his eyes, Councilman Greg Burry told Koss that so many in the village could not believe she is really leaving.

“Rosanne has been the best thing that happened to this village, and I will truly miss her,” he said.

Koss herself said it was a privilege to be involved in village government for the past eight years.

“All of you are what make this such a great place to live, and make it easy for someone like me to work as hard as I do to give back. It’s a great place to call home, and while I would love to take credit for all great things, this has to be the best council I’ve ever served with, and we have an outstanding administration,” she said, to a standing ovation.

“We’ve faced difficult times, but I hope everyone’s voice was heard and their input taken into consideration. I thank all of you for your kind remarks. It’s been a great ride.”