Eastpointe councilman says goodbye at final meeting

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published October 28, 2015

 Phil Guastella

Phil Guastella

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EASPOINTE — Mayor Pro Tem Phil Guastella participated in his last full meeting as part of the Eastpointe City Council Oct. 20, as the six-and-a-half-year veteran decided not to run for re-election in November.

Guastella spent much of that time as a councilman before being selected as mayor pro tem following the death of Bill Sweeney in 2014. In his remarks, Guastella said he was proud that the city was able to bounce back from the “brink of insolvency” during his tenure.

“I’ve seen ups and downs, but I feel good to leave the city in much better shape than I arrived,” Guastella said. “Never forget where we were six to eight years ago. The challenges we faced, the efforts it took for us to restore our city, the efforts that made other cities around the state wonder how we did that — we did that by working together.”

He said that of the initial council that he joined, which had to deal with the recession, only he and now-Mayor Suzanne Pixley are left. Veronica Klinefelt and Wendy Richardson have since left the council — along with Sweeney passing away last year — but Guastella praised that group as one that focused entirely on the best interests of Eastpointe, despite disagreements.

That council was able to keep police, fire, trash pickup and ambulance services, and it kept the library open. He said that council found a way to maintain recreation by merging with Roseville, and it invested in infrastructure. It made budget cuts elsewhere, notably on staffing and hours of operation.

“It wouldn’t have been possible without the help of residents,” he said. “They stepped up when we needed more money, but not with an open checkbook.”

Pixley said she had enjoyed Guastella’s sense of humor and added that it was “interesting” to chair meetings with him and Sweeney on either side of her as they traded quips.

“It’s been a very interesting six years,” Pixley said. “We’ve sure come through some very difficult times together. It was with your introspection that helped us get through these situations.”

Other council members added their thanks to Guastella for his assistance and service; Ron LaForest said Guastella’s wit helped lighten situations at the table, while Michael Klinefelt said that while he had not served long with Guastella, he was grateful that he could always go to the outgoing mayor pro tem to learn the ropes.

Guastella’s seat is one of two seats on council that are part of the November election; three people — Sarah Lucido, John Marion and Alexandria Bibb Williams — are running to fill those two seats.

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