Keego Harbor mayor opts to not run for another term on council

Fletcher hopes city will take up wetlands ordinance

By: Mark Vest | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published November 8, 2022




KEEGO HARBOR — After 12 years on Keego Harbor’s City Council, Mayor John Fletcher made a decision not to run for another term.

Had he not made that decision, Fletcher’s name would have been part of the Nov. 8 general election ballot for Keego residents.

“I believe I would’ve successfully run again,” he said.

Fletcher said he served 12 years on the council because he loves his community.

However, other life matters called for more of his attention.

“The decision, I think in my own mind, I knew last winter that it’s time,” Fletcher said. “The budget looked good, the city’s on stable ground, and it’s time — fresh ideas, fresh leadership — and I needed a break. In my own personal life, I’ve lost three brothers, my best friend and my father, all in the last few years. It is time for a break and to really be able to focus on my business, my family and my faith, and that’s where I’m heading with this. If I’m needed to serve again, I will.”

Fletcher started a business that specializes in historic preservation approximately 17 years ago. Not being directly involved with city government provides an opportunity for him to devote more attention to his duties with National Restoration Inc.

“I run a very employee-friendly business; we’re a Christian-based business,” Fletcher said. “Our employees are paid well, we care about every one of ’em, and I think they deserve my full attention to be on business right now.”

Fletcher reflected on one of the accomplishments he was most pleased with during his time on council.

“I take away a lot of great things from this,” he said. “We’ve re-paved about 75% of our roads without asking for a tax increase or millages. We did that through sound fiscal decisions.”

Fletcher also cited “the development of our parks.”

However, there is something that Fletcher thinks is missing in Keego Harbor that he would have liked to have been a part of changing.

“My biggest disappointment, on the other end of it, is that I wasn’t able to get a wetlands ordinance passed; that’s very disappointing to me,” he said. “Even though there is a wetlands area, it hasn’t been dedicated — but to not have a wetlands ordinance in a community called ‘The Heart of the Lakes’ is very disappointing to me. So, hopefully, that’ll move forward.”

Part of the agenda for a Keego Harbor City Council meeting Oct. 20 included recognition for Fletcher’s services to the city.

Aside from a “beautiful” plaque, Fletcher was also the recipient of some kind words.

Rana Emmons assists the city with its auditing process.

“I would like, sincerely, to thank Mayor Fletcher for all your leadership over the years,” Emmons said at the meeting. “There were a lot of times when there were tough decisions that needed to be made for the city, and you didn’t hesitate. You went ahead and did whatever needed to be done for the residents of the city.”

Keego City Clerk and City Manager Tammy Neeb recognized Fletcher for the assistance that he has provided to her.

“I appreciate all the expertise that he has,” she said. “It’s gonna be missed.”

Rob Kalman has also served for more than a decade on Keego Harbor’s City Council.

He thanked Fletcher and acknowledged challenges he has tackled on behalf of the city.

“It really is appreciated,” Kalman said. “If you see John … just say thank you.”

After Kalman spoke, Keego City Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Brian Lampl also acknowledged Fletcher’s service to the city.

“I, too, want to thank Mayor Fletcher for his service and commitment to our community over the years,” Lampl said. “I’ve enjoyed working with him, and I appreciate the guidance and expertise you shared with me and all of council. You are a tremendous asset to our city, and you’re going to be missed here on council.”

What he heard the night of that City Council meeting was no small matter for Fletcher.

“That was very nice, and it was very touching to me,” he said. “It brings on a lot of emotions. … It was more than I expected. … I really, really, do appreciate that they did that for me.”

Fletcher, who is a West Bloomfield High graduate, has been married to his wife, Christine, for more than 40 years. They have three children who range in age from 14 to 40, and one grandchild.

All of Fletcher’s children also live in Keego Harbor.

The difference in his children’s age can make for some unique family gatherings.

“Sunday dinners are very interesting, because we have a broad spectrum of not only political views, but age-specific issues, because we are so spread out in age. It’s very, very interesting to see that,” Fletcher said. “We do not talk politics Sundays at dinner, and we try to leave social issues at the door, as well, because I believe wholeheartedly, and I taught my children, we’re all Americans; we’re all entitled to our opinions, and you have to respect other people’s opinions.”

As for the city he has chosen to call home, Fletcher said that it is “stunning” to live in a community where people are so friendly.

“And it doesn’t really matter what side of the political aisle you’re on or anything else,” he said. “Keego’s a great place to live. I thank everybody for their support over the years. I tried to do my best for our residents.”