City Council to get one new member after November election

By: April Lehmbeck | Advertiser Times | Published August 6, 2015


HARPER WOODS — Barring a successful write-in candidate, it appears as if the City Council election has been decided.

Just enough candidates to fill the open seats filed for the mayor and council elections.

One name not on the list, however, was Councilman Charles Flanagan, who chose not to run to retain his seat at the council table in the November election.

“I just retired from the Detroit Police Department on my 30-year anniversary, July 22, and recently remarried,” Flanagan said in an email about his decision not to run for re-election. “My plans include significant travel, and I will not be able to commit the time required to serve on the council. I enjoyed my term, and I wish the best for the city of Harper Woods and the council.”

Mayor Ken Poynter is running unopposed for mayor, and City Council members Cheryl Costantino and Veronica Paiz, whom the council chose earlier this year to fill a vacancy left when 32A District Court Judge Dan Palmer won his judicial seat last November, are running to keep their seats on council. A newcomer, Tom Jenny, is the final candidate running for the third open City Council seat.

Poynter has been mayor since 1997. When asked about the lack of challengers on the ballot, he said he does hear a lot of newer residents in the community praising Harper Woods.

“They say, ‘Oh, we just love it here,’” he said, adding that they appreciate the city services. “I kind of think that perhaps it indicates that the majority of people are satisfied with how things are in Harper Woods.”

Even though there may be a certain level of satisfaction among residents, Poynter noted that it doesn’t mean the city doesn’t have work to do to improve things. For example, stepping up code enforcement to make the city look better is a priority among city officials.

While he will be new on the City Council, Jenny is not a new face in the city. He threw his hat in the ring with Paiz to fill the Palmer vacancy.

Both Paiz and Jenny had support for that seat; the council voted 3-2 in favor of Paiz.

“I think Tom Jenny will definitely be an asset to the council,” Poynter said. “He’s active in the community and the school system.” 

Jenny lives within the Grosse Pointe Public School System boundary of Harper Woods. Poynter also mentioned that Jenny is a city employee in Grosse Pointe Woods.

“That’s all valuable,” Poynter said of Jenny’s experience. “I know he’s very committed to this city and to the public school system.”