Farmington Hills city manager retires to move up north, access in-person learning for family

‘I’m going from a city boy to a farmer’

By: Jonathan Shead | Farmington Press | Published November 10, 2020


FARMINGTON HILLS — An aura of sadness permeated the air at Farmington Hills City Hall Oct. 30 as now former City Manager David Boyer packed up his desk, said farewell to friends and colleagues, and retired from his position.

The official announcement of Boyer’s retirement came Oct. 26 during the City Council’s evening meeting, where a proclamation honoring Boyer’s service to the community was read.

Council members unanimously approved signing a contract with the Michigan Municipal League for MML representatives to lead and conduct the search for Boyer’s successor. Council members chose the enhanced package, at a cost of $19,000, which is the MML’s package with the most services. The city will pay an additional $1,200 to add five background checks to their search.

Boyer, who has served the community for 22 years in a number of roles, was first hired in 1998 as the director of special services. He was appointed as assistant city manager in 2012, then promoted to city manager in 2015. Prior to working in Farmington Hills, Boyer served as the Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation for Southfield for 14 years.

He graduated from Northern Michigan University and was a member of several government associations and organizations locally, such as the Friends of the Park and the Farmington-Farmington Hills Optimist Club.

“It’s one of the best jobs in the state,” Boyer said before his departure. “If it wasn’t for our decision, and our children’s decision to be in school, I would still be working here. It’s a great place, and I’m sad to leave. I’ve made a lot of good friends here, both with employees and also the community.”

With his two sons desiring to attend school in person and his family’s recently bought property up north, he decided it was the perfect time to make the transition.

Boyer said he plans to use his new free time trying to restore his recently purchased nearly 100-year-old farmhouse and farm property and potentially start growing crops.

“I’m going from a city boy to a farmer,” he said, adding that his family will continue to enjoy skiing and other outdoor activities that they’ve enjoyed in northern Michigan the last few years.

Assistant City Manager Gary Mekjian will take the helm and continue to lead staff until a successor is hired. Mekjian wouldn’t comment as to whether he was considering applying to fill the role full time, stating “my priority right now is to run the city in the interim. That’s my highest priority.”

As council members said their goodbyes to Boyer Oct. 26, they remembered the impactful projects he’s led in the city and the qualities he exemplified in his role as one of the city’s leaders.

According to the proclamation, Boyer was integral in projects such as the Farmington Hills Golf Club, the Heritage Park Amphitheater, the Riley Skate Park, the William Grace Dog Park, the Founders Sports Park fishing pier, and most recently, the repurposing of the former Harrison High School to become the city’s new community center, The Hawk.

Council members remembered Boyer’s work to maintain and enhance the quality of life for residents, his fiscal responsibility, his communication skills and open-door accessibility, his focus toward the future, and his overall commitment to the city.

Boyer said those are the skills he hopes the next city manager can bring to the table as well.

“My job is to provide council with the information to make the best decision they can. It’s important for the next person to be an open communicator and share ideas. You don’t always have to agree, but your job is to provide that information and work with council,” he said.

“You’ve been an excellent city manager. You’ve been good to our employees. You’ve been a great delegator, and I will truly miss you as a friend,” Mayor Vicki Barnett said Oct. 26. “You have a great sense of humor, but at the end of day you have to be where your family is, and you have to put family first. That’s part of what makes you the kind of gentleman you are, because you recognize how important family is.”

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