Farmington Hills candidates Mary Newlin, Vicki Barnett, Danette Duron-Willner and Theresa Rich celebrate their friends being elected into office. Newlin was elected to City Council, and Barnett was elected as mayor.

Farmington Hills candidates Mary Newlin, Vicki Barnett, Danette Duron-Willner and Theresa Rich celebrate their friends being elected into office. Newlin was elected to City Council, and Barnett was elected as mayor.

Photo by Jonathan Shead

New faces elected to mayoral, City Council seats in Farmington Hills

By: Jonathan Shead | Farmington Press | Published November 6, 2019


FARMINGTON HILLS — Two familiar faces are joined by two first-timers to make up Farmington Hills City Council.

Vicki Barnett outpaced City Council member Richard Lerner to win the mayoral election, while current Mayor Ken Massey was elected to City Council alongside newcomers Jackie Boleware and Mary Newlin, according to unofficial results from the Oakland County Elections Division.


Farmington Hills mayoral race
From the first precinct reporting in at 8:13 p.m. Nov. 5, Vick Barnett was in the lead by approximately 300 votes. Barnett never saw that lead dwindle as the final vote tallies were reported.

Overall, of the 15,727 total votes, Barnett earned 8,631, or 54.88%; Lerner garnered 7,049, or 44.82%. There were 47 write-in votes. Barnett will serve a two-year term as mayor.

Barnett, who has held other positions within Farmington Hills government, including a council seat between 1995 and 2003 and the mayor’s seat from 2003-07, said it was gratifying to receive the kind of support she did after taking some time off.

“I couldn’t be happier right now,” she said.

Lerner, who served on City Council from 2011-2019, said he wasn’t pleased with what he felt were some nasty politics that came into play during the campaign period, “but she came up with the votes in the end, and that’s what counts,” he said. He will not seek reelection.

“I had eight years on council. I got a lot done, and I’m very proud of what we accomplished, but it’s time to move on,” he said.

As Barnett takes the helm, she’ll be focused on helping the city prepare for the future.

“Farmington Hills is a great city, and it’s been very well run, but it needs to look more toward the future, (and) not a short-term future, but a long-term future,” she said. “We still have a 2020 vision plan, not a 2040 vision plan. We need to look toward the future because, right now, there are more seniors on fixed income living in the region than there are kids in our school district. If we don’t change our ways, it’s going to be difficult to keep balancing a budget, maintain a AAA bond rating and do the wonderful things that we want to do.”

To Lerner, Barnett said she appreciates his service to the community and his willingness and hard work working with several charities.

“He’s done a very fine job, and I hope he continues to do that. I wish him the best. I hope he stays involved,” she said.


Farmington Hills City Council
Two fresh faces have earned a seat at the table, while one familiar face returns.

Current Mayor Ken Massey earned the highest number of votes at 9,857, or 25.91%, securing himself a spot on council. He will be joined by newcomers Jackie Boleware, who earned 6,309, or 16.58%, of the votes; and Mary Newlin, who earned 6,261, or 16.46%, of the votes. All three elected officials will serve four-year terms.

T.R. Carr garnered the fourth highest votes, at 6,055, or 15.91%. Trailing behind him was Danette Duron-Willner with 5,474, or 14.39%, of the votes. The unassigned write-in tally, including for current City Council member Theresa Rich, totaled 4,091, or 10.75%, of votes.

Massey said that when he began as a city official 16 years ago, his primary focus was to serve the community in which he was raised and has raised a family. He’s said he’s grateful for the opportunity to continue serving his community.

“There’s still things to be done, so I’m happy the people sought to put me back on council,” he said. “There’s a trust factor that I greatly appreciate, and when they give me the honor of having the highest number of votes for council, I am not going to violate that trust.”

Overall, Massey said he’d like to see City Council continue to work toward improving the roads and infrastructure in the city, as well as to grow the commercial district, deal with the high population of deer — a concern he’s heard from residents — keep the city’s AAA bond rating, and finish the new community center, The Hawk, on schedule and under budget, as projected.

For Newlin, she agrees with Barnett — she’d like to see the city focus in on its vision.

“We have to focus on how to bring young families and couples in the community,” she said. “We need that for our school base. We need it for our community. We need new ideas (and) to be invigorated again.”

Newlin said she’s looking forward to working with both the new and returning members of council.

The new Farmington Hills mayor and council members will be sworn into office Nov. 11.