Farms voters select first new mayor in over a decade

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published January 2, 2018

  James Farquhar

James Farquhar

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — It was a year of transition around the Grosse Pointe Farms City Council table, with Mayor James Farquhar — the city’s first generally elected mayor and the longest-serving Farms mayor — deciding not to run again for that seat.

Farquhar — a lifelong Farms resident and business owner who served as mayor from 2003 until 2017 — did run, and win, a seat on the council, in an uncontested council election in November. He had also served as a council member for two years before becoming mayor. But Farquhar’s decision not to seek another two-year mayoral term left the seat open, and City Councilmen Joe Ricci and Louis Theros both threw their hats into the ring. Farquhar endorsed Theros after he announced he wasn’t running for another term as mayor.

The hotly contested mayoral race — the first in over a decade in the Farms — saw both candidates taking out scores of campaign ads and found neighbors sporting signs in support of opposing candidates. In the end, voters chose attorney Theros — who had been on the council for the last 16 years and was chair of the city’s Budget and Audit Committee — over Ricci, a five-year council member and retired car salesman and dealership owner. Ricci, whose term on the council isn’t up until 2019, continues to serve in that capacity. Theros’ council term had been slated to expire in November 2017, so if he hadn’t been elected mayor, he also would have no longer been on the council.

Voters also re-elected Peter Waldmeir to the council, along with Farquhar and newcomer John Gillooly, who was appointed by the council to fill the seat formerly occupied by Martin West. West stepped down last year.

For a city that routinely attracts higher than average voter turnouts, the contested mayoral race was surprisingly quiet. Just over 35 percent of the city’s 8,452 registered voters — 2,995 — cast ballots in this election.