New Grosse Pointe Woods mayor, council members appointed

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published April 6, 2021

 Arthur Bryant

Arthur Bryant

 Angela Coletti Brown

Angela Coletti Brown

 Thomas S. Vaughn

Thomas S. Vaughn

GROSSE POINTE WOODS —  The City of Grosse Pointe Woods endured two losses over the past several months.

In March, longtime Mayor Robert Novitke, who served in that position since 1990 and as a councilman since 1977, died reportedly of emphysema.

In December, Councilman George McMullen Jr., first elected in 2017, died of pancreatic cancer.

Both will be remembered for their dedication to the city, and their work will carry forward as new appointees join the City Council.

At a special City Council meeting March 29 held via Zoom videoconferencing, Councilman Arthur Bryant was appointed as mayor with a 5-0 vote, and Councilwoman Vicki Granger was named mayor pro tem with a 5-0 vote. Bryant, 77, was in his fourth term on council and gave up that council seat to become mayor. He previously served as mayor pro tem. The retired Ford Motor Co. engineer has resided in Grosse Pointe Woods for 43 years.

“I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to serve the city in this job,” Bryant said. “I feel very good about the opportunity to give back to the community and to do things to help improve our city. I want to work to improve our business district along Mack Avenue.”

Over the years, Bryant has been on hand for several city projects, including road improvements, sewer upgrades, the renovated jail, the miniature golf course at Lake Front Park and the DTE Energy Gas Renewal Program. One item Bryant wants the council to put into practice is the Planning Commission’s 2020 Vision Plan.

“There are some things already starting to be done,” Bryant said.

Bryant is married and has four children, four grandchildren, one great-grandchild and one great-grandchild on the way. The mayoral appointment is bittersweet, as Bryant had known Novitke for 16 years.

“He was such a good friend,” Bryant said. “He taught me how to properly maintain a local government and do what needs to be done to keep a city running properly.”

The council has been holding public meetings via Zoom since the COVID-19 pandemic began last year.

“When the time is right, we’ll go back to regular meetings,” Bryant said.


New council members named
Applications were sought for several weeks to fill the City Council vacancy. Bryant said the city received 19 submissions.

At a Committee of the Whole meeting held prior to the special City Council meeting, the council members voted to appoint Angela Coletti Brown and Thomas S. Vaughn to the council. The appointments will be made official — and voted on — at the April 12 City Council meeting.

“I was so excited,” said Coletti Brown, who has been a member of the city’s Citizens’ Recreation Commission for three years. “I’m very happy to be able to now serve on the City Council.”

Coletti Brown grew up in Harrison Township and attended Regina High School when it was located in Harper Woods. She left metro Detroit in 2007 to work for General Motors in Los Angeles and moved to Chicago, where she met her husband, George Brown. She relocated to Michigan when she and her husband settled in Grosse Pointe Woods in 2017. There were several aspects that drew them to the city.

“It was safe, family-oriented, and we were especially attracted to the vibrant parks. Our family is still in the area,” Coletti Brown said. The Grosse Pointe Public School System also was a factor. The new council member and her husband are parents to daughter Gloria, a kindergartener, and son George, 1.

With more than 20 years of experience in marketing, communications and management, Coletti Brown submitted her application for City Council.

“I think the council is such a cohesive, really good group of people. They’ve been very welcoming,” she said. Bryant also has made himself accessible. “We’ve had conversations. He’s been helpful showing me the ropes.”

A “happy and proud” moment was when the Grosse Pointe Woods Citizens’ Recreation Commission received the Michigan Recreation and Parks Association’s Community Service Award for restructuring the city’s annual Winterfest.

All the City Council members are appointed to various commissions as liaisons to the council. If Coletti Brown remained on the Citizens’ Recreation Commission, “I would love that.” But if appointed elsewhere, “I’d be excited to take on a different challenge.”

Vaughn, 65, grew up in Grosse Pointe Shores. He has lived in Grosse Pointe Woods since 1982 with his wife, Patti Krausmann-Vaughn, who grew up in Grosse Pointe City.

“We love all the benefits of living in the Grosse Pointes. We love all the resources of Grosse Pointe Woods,” Vaughn said.

Vaughn served on the city’s Senior Citizens’ Commission from 1989 to 2002. He has served on the Planning Commission since 2002 and on the Grosse Pointe Woods Building Authority Committee since last year.

“When the opportunity came to serve the city in a different capacity, I decided it was the right time for me to serve on the council,” Vaughn said. “I have a lot of experience and perspective, so I could continue to serve the city. I’m happy to have the opportunity to be able to be part of the transition.”

He personally feels the loss of Novitke.

“He was a good friend and mentor,” Vaughn said.

Vaughn has been an attorney with Dykema Gossett PLLC in Detroit since 1980. He is primarily involved in a general corporate and securities law practice, with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions, public company securities compliance and private placements of securities involving institutional, venture capital and private investors.

Vaughn attended high school at Austin Catholic Preparatory School in Detroit and grade school at Our Lady Star of the Sea Grade School in Grosse Pointe Woods. He has earned many awards including being named a leading Corporate/M&A Lawyer by “Chambers USA,” 2017-2020, and rwas ecognized as a Top Lawyer by DBusiness Magazine in 2017, 2019 and 2021.

He has a son and three daughters, as well as five grandchildren.

All three terms expire at the Nov. 2, 2021, election. The mayor’s salary is $6,000 per year; the salary for a council member is $3,750 per year.