Dave Coulter leads his last Ferndale City Council meeting as mayor before resigning Aug. 19. His resignation comes after his appointment as L. Brooks Patterson’s replacement as Oakland County executive.

Dave Coulter leads his last Ferndale City Council meeting as mayor before resigning Aug. 19. His resignation comes after his appointment as L. Brooks Patterson’s replacement as Oakland County executive.

Photo by Mike Koury

Ferndale council to appoint new mayor Sept. 9

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published August 19, 2019


FERNDALE — At a special early morning meeting of the Ferndale City Council Aug. 19, Mayor Dave Coulter resigned in order to accept his appointment as the new Oakland County executive.

Coulter is exiting the City Council earlier than expected, as he had announced earlier this year that he would not seek a third term as mayor.

“When I made the decision earlier this year to not run again, it was a really difficult, personal decision, but I knew it was the right one to make for me,” he told the Woodward Talk. “I’m disappointed that I won’t get to serve the last four months, but I hope that the residents understand why, and I hope that they’re proud of me for taking on the responsibility of Oakland County.”

Coulter was appointed as Oakland County executive Aug. 16 after the passing of L. Brooks Patterson Aug. 3. Coulter was sworn in hours after his resignation.

After nine years as mayor, Coulter leaves believing he and his fellow council members made a lot of progress in the city, but he doesn’t credit just them, as he said it was “collaborative progress” with the community as well.

“This has been a community effort from the beginning, and I have tried, not always well, but I’ve always tried to bring all the voices to the table and everybody who has an interest in a subject to hear their voices and to take that into consideration when we make decisions,” he said. “As a result, we make better decisions because everybody had a voice, and I’m proud of this city, I’m proud of the change and the progress that we’ve made, and I’m totally confident that this council will continue in that direction.”

The other four members of the City Council all “regretfully” accepted Coulter’s resignation, with Councilman Dan Martin saying he was sorry to see him go, but excited for Oakland County.

“As a friend and a mentor, I think you’ve been outstanding,” Martin said at the meeting. “Just been an outstanding mayor of Ferndale. We have a lot of success due to your leadership. … The leader sets a tone, and the reason this team has been effective is because of the tone you’ve set.”

Now the remaining members of the City Council are tasked with appointing Coulter’s replacement as mayor. This comes weeks after the council selected Dennis Whittie to fill the vacant seat of former Councilwoman Melanie Piana, who resigned to run for mayor in November.

Piana and the other resident running for mayor in November, Brian Stawowy, told the Woodward Talk that they will be applying for appointment to the seat.

Under the city’s charter, the council has 30 days to select someone for the role.

The city will be accepting resident applications from Aug. 19 to Sept. 3. The next council meeting — on Monday, Sept. 9 — is when a new mayor will be selected. That person will serve the remainder of Coulter’s term, which will expire at the end of December.

On what it takes to be mayor, City Manager Joe Gacioch said it’s a leadership position, and with that comes a familiarity with what’s going on in Ferndale.

“Outside of the changes in council, there’s still general day-to-day administrations moving forward,” he said. “So just kind of general awareness of the direction of the city, the issues that have been important to us and kind of what’s on the horizon.”

Current council members are allowed to apply for the mayoral seat without having to vacate their current seats. Mayor Pro Tem Greg Pawlica, Councilwoman Raylon Leaks-May and Whittie all have said they are not interested in the position.

Martin, whose term as a council member ends this year and who is not seeking another term in the November election, said he will take time to consider the decision.

For residents who are interested in applying, more information will be posted on the city’s social media pages and its website, www.ferndalemi.gov.