Former mayor returns to Keego City Council

By: Mark Vest | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published March 14, 2024

 Former Keego Harbor Mayor John Fletcher recently made a return to City Council after he was unanimously appointed to the position.

Former Keego Harbor Mayor John Fletcher recently made a return to City Council after he was unanimously appointed to the position.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes


KEEGO HARBOR — A familiar face has returned to Keego Harbor City Hall.

John Fletcher previously served 12 years on Keego’s City Council, prior to opting not to seek reelection in 2022.

However, circumstances have led to Fletcher making an unexpected return to 2025 Beechmont St., which is the address for City Hall and the site of City Council meetings.

After Brian Lampl resigned his council seat in November, the other four members of Keego’s City Council were assigned the task of appointing someone to take his spot, with Fletcher being the unanimous choice.

Lampl’s three-year term was set to run through November.

He shared his reasoning for relinquishing his position at a City Council meeting late last year.

“To my fellow residents, I come before you with a heart filled with mixed emotions to announce my upcoming resignation from City Council of Keego Harbor,” Lampl said. “The decision comes in light of a new career opportunity that requires frequent out-of-state travel, combined with my increasing family commitments. … For the past five years, serving on City Council has been a journey of immense learning, growth and fulfillment. Representing and advocating for the residents of Keego Harbor has been a privilege that I have cherished deeply.”

Keego City Councilman Michael Karson said he was shocked and saddened by the news of Lampl’s resignation.

“I appreciate everything that you’ve done (and) how much I’ve learned from you,” Karson said at the meeting. “I thank you for that, and you will be missed.”

Keego Council member Theresa Shimansky also thanked Lampl for his service.

“Your leaving us is going to be a great loss for the city,” she said. “Your insights are always welcome. To say that they bring new light to many subjects would be an understatement. You’re very thoughtful and concise with your thoughts, and it has been a significant contribution to our city, no matter what position you have served.”

In an interview with the Beacon, Keego Mayor Rob Kalman also shared some thoughts about Lampl.

“He was a real strong asset to the city,” Kalman said. “He had a really good financial background and dug in deep on the issues, understood them and asked really good, pointed questions.”

Following Lampl’s resignation, Kalman said that Keego City Manager Tammy Neeb was asked to put out a notice to residents that the city was going to accept letters of interest about filling the vacant council seat.

He said four people applied and were given an opportunity to speak to City Council members, including Fletcher, who is now set to complete Lampl’s term.

If Fletcher wants to remain on council beyond that term, he will be required to run for a spot during the general election in November.

Although Kalman said that he liked all four of the people who expressed an interest in completing Lampl’s term, he explained the rationale for ultimately deciding on Fletcher.

“He’s experienced. He’s talented,” Kalman said. “At least for me, I wanted somebody who would be able to jump right in and be able to help out, explore the issues with me, bounce ideas off of me and other council members, and come with a different perspective. He’s had years of experience on our City Council. … For the remainder of the year, before there’s an election, I really wanted to have somebody who had some experience.”

Prior to opting to not run in 2022, Fletcher was serving as Keego’s mayor.

Fletcher said that he received phone calls from “quite a few people” about returning to council following Lampl’s resignation. He discussed what led him to making himself available for the appointment.

“I care about my community,” Fletcher said. “I’m a firm believer in fresh blood and letting other people have their chances, and that’s why I didn’t run for reelection, but when duty calls, you have to step up, and that’s why I do it: for my community, (and to) show my family that’s part of your responsibility as a good citizen — step up when you’re needed and do what you need to do.”

However, that doesn’t mean the decision was an easy one.

“I had to think about it,” Fletcher said. “I’m very busy with my businesses, and I travel a lot. … When you put it all together it can be, minimum, a 20-hour-a-week part-time job to be effective, so it was very difficult. I have grandkids now.”

Fletcher worked on City Council with Lampl and said that the two of them had many of the same goals and shared the same mentality.

He cited implementing a road restoration program, adopting a wetlands ordinance and getting a public safety millage passed as his goals for council.

“In Keego, we walk a fine line on the budget,” Fletcher said. “Every dollar counts. There’s a lot (of) work that goes into this and, hopefully, we can get everybody up to speed and onboard and make it all work.”

Fletcher was officially appointed to his position last month. He said that it is “way too early” to know if he is going to run for an elected spot in November.

What he doesn’t need to take time to think about is his fondness for the city of Keego.

“Keego really is a great place to live and walk around,” Fletcher said. “It’s beautiful. … I’m privileged to be able to serve it.”