Goodwin resigns from commission, cites family as top priority

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published October 17, 2014

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After three years on the City Commission, Peggy Goodwin resigned effective immediately Oct. 15.

“It’s hard,” she said. “But the best thing to do was to resign.”

Her decision came after considering her professional and personal commitments, and primarily her need to coordinate her mother’s long-term care as she leaves a nursing and rehabilitation center this week.

Goodwin said that once she knew her personal and professional time commitments were increasing, she didn’t feel comfortable remaining on the commission knowing she didn’t have the time to adequately prepare and put her all into the role. She said she also didn’t have the time to attend the additional committee meetings required of a commissioner.

“It’s been a long three years. We’ve done a lot of work, but certainly my intention was not to leave a year early,” she said. “But life happens.”

Mayor Jim Ellison said the council expected to discuss filling the vacancy during the council’s Oct. 20 meeting. He said the commission would decide to appoint someone or go through an application process.

“The quickest, best way would be to find someone with experience to appoint,” Ellison said, adding that if the council appointed a replacement, that person could start as soon as the Nov. 17 meeting. The new appointee would serve the remainder of Goodwin’s term.

Royal Oak Community Engagement Specialist Judy Davids said the City Charter states that it is the commission’s discretion whether to appoint someone or go through an application process, as long as the majority of the commission is in agreement.

In the recent past, according to Davids, members have opted to appoint rather than call for applications.

“I appreciate everything Peggy did for the commission,” Ellison said, lauding her work on several causes. “I certainly can appreciate her decision.”

Goodwin was elected in November 2011 and was often the sole vote on a number of issues facing the commission. 

“I do think that I brought a different perspective for sure, and I think that a lot of people saw that,” she said.

Goodwin said that although she supported downtown businesses, she strived to be a voice for the residents during her tenure.

Goodwin stated in her resignation letter, “It is no secret that I object to recent large footprint developments involving liquor licenses that will make it even that much harder to recruit and retain a retail base; the retroactive rezoning from neighborhood compatible mixed use to incompatible general industrial on East Lincoln, a predominantly residential street; and the decision to turn part of Knowles into a truck route, all in my opinion, are in violation of the Master Plan.”

She encourages all residents to become active in their local government and to keep their voices heard.

“I would like to see the people that have the best interest in Royal Oak get involved,” she said. “You have to bring forth your ideas. Your voice is important.”

Goodwin said that, as time permits, she will continue her involvement in the causes near to her heart, including the Royal Oak Animal Shelter, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Royal Oak’s Suicide Awareness is For Everyone, which she founded.

“I’m still going to be an active resident,” she said.

During her time as commissioner, Goodwin served on the Royal Oak Crime Prevention Council, where she worked to promote neighborhood watch meetings through a Safe Neighborhoods initiative with state, county and local law officials and other organizations. The initiative resulted in the creation of the Safe Neighborhoods citywide block parties in 2013 and 2014. She also served on the Royal Oak Animal Shelter, Royal Oak Youth Assistance and City/School Liaison committees.

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