Candidates vie to fill longtime incumbents’ seats on commission

Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published October 13, 2021

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BIRMINGHAM/BLOOMFIELD HILLS — Voters in Birmingham will head to the polls Nov. 2 to decide which three of seven candidates will occupy available seats on the City Commission. The incumbents who currently occupy the seats have opted not to run for reelection at the end of their term this year.

In Bloomfield Hills, voters have five candidates running for five seats on the City Commission. The uncontested race consists of four incumbents and one candidate seeking to replace Commissioner William Hosler, who is not running for reelection.

Following are profiles of the candidates in the Birmingham City Commission race.

Candidates were asked, in 75 words or fewer, to state their top goals if elected. If a candidate went over the word limit, (…) replaces the rest of the answer. (I) indicates the candidate is an incumbent. The answers are printed verbatim.

Birmingham City Commission
Seven candidates are running for three four-year terms.

David Bloom
Age: No answer given.
Occupation: Automotive Purchasing
Municipality of residence: Birmingham
For how long: 24 years
Online campaign information:
Education: No answer given.
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals: Better dialog on what kind of Birmingham we want for our future and better engagement with residents. Most of the Commission have lots of time to listen to developer ideas while preferring  to go home early rather than stay later to discuss residents issues of concern. City Hall needs to put more priority on listening residents, spend more time on our issues, and help bring more peace and tranquility to our neighborhoods.

Andrew Haig
Age: 52
Occupation: Operations Strategy Manager currently running multi million dollar manufacturing plant relocations
Municipality of residence: Birmingham
For how long: 12 years
Online campaign information:
Education: Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering, Masters in Engineering Management, Certified Professional Project Manager
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals: Get the city staff back up to the correct level to reduce their overloading and then the 2040 plan. We have positioned the business community well, now it is time to address the community specific needs and wants, to include an equitable funding plan for unimproved streets, sewer updates & flooding countermeasures.
Achieve a secure future for the Birmingham NEXT Senior center facility & its funding.

Stephen Konja
Age: 43
Occupation: Regional Managing Director for a national mortgage banker
Municipality of residence: City of Birmingham
For how long: 8 years
Online campaign information:
Education: Brother Rice High School, Michigan State University Eli Broad School of Business, Bachelor’s in Finance, 2000
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals: I believe we must focus broadly on sustainable growth, smart infrastructure, and connecting every corner of Birmingham.
Sustainable growth balances current neighborhood aesthetics with housing, socioeconomic and community diversity priorities. Smart infrastructure means making investments to improve neighborhood roads and replace residential lead service through a coordinated capital improvement process ensuring we leverage infrastructure dollars. Connecting every corner of our city means emphasizing walkability everywhere and ensuring every neighborhood has access to the same amenities.

Anthony J. Long
Age: 54
Occupation: Attorney & Firm General Counsel, Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC, Royal Oak, Michigan
Municipality of residence: Birmingham, Michigan
For how long: 26 years
Online campaign information: Facebook – Anthony Long for Birmingham City Commission
Education: Albion College, Bachelor of Arts, Economics & Management, 1989
Michigan State University College of Law, Juris Doctorate, 1994
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals: Infrastructure improvement implementation is a top priority. Birmingham needs to update its sewer and stormwater systems. There are 26 miles of unimproved streets that need upgrading. Birmingham needs to start this upgrading process to prevent these issues from continuing to worsen. Also, finding a permanent location for Birmingham’s NEXT Senior Citizen Center is a top priority. We need a separate, dedicated building in Birmingham for older adults, just like other neighboring municipalities.

Elaine McLain
Age: 63 years young
Occupation: Registered Nurse (Psychiatric Specialty), Life and Health Insurance Representative/Broker (Medicare in process), OPTAVIA Health Coach
Municipality of residence: Birmingham
For how long: 63 years
Online campaign information:
Education: RN, BSN from Mercy College of Detroit, Life and Health Insurance Licensed through the State of Michigan, Independent Program Coach
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals: (1) Homeowners Association meetings with staff. We need advisory boards to execute remedies for infrastructure: water/sewage, power outages and vermin. Answers are in coordination with utilities and code enforcement/zoning.
(2) I’m accessible to solve issues collaboratively with the public and municipal government. I’m a proven leader.
(3) Streamlining meetings and preparing for the new City Manager, will help us launch the 2040 plan with community confidence and inclusion. Fiscal responsibility benefits all.

Katie Schafer
Age: 41
Occupation: Physician/Pediatrician
Municipality of residence: Birmingham
For how long: 14 years
Online campaign information:
Education: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Bachelor of Science, Psychology, 2002
Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, East Lansing, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, 2007
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals: The focus of the city commission should be on the continued maintenance, improvement, and beautification of Birmingham.  First, by improving infrastructure like that which is intended by the implementation of the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Unimproved Streets Committee. Second, curating the 2040 Master Plan to serve Birmingham in the future.  Third, ensuring and expanding our great and reliable city services inclusive of seniors to make certain they have opportunity to age in place.

Lynda Schrenk
Did not return questionnaire by press time.