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 Incumbent Farmington Councilwoman Sara Bowman takes her oath of office with City Clerk Mary Mullison to serve a four-year term.

Incumbent Farmington Councilwoman Sara Bowman takes her oath of office with City Clerk Mary Mullison to serve a four-year term.

Photo by Donna Dalziel

New mayor appointed in Farmington

By: Jonathan Shead | Farmington Press | Published November 18, 2019

FARMINGTON — A new mayor has been appointed in Farmington.

City Council incumbent and former Mayor Pro Tem Sara Bowman was nominated by former mayor and now current Councilman Steve Schneemann at a special organizational meeting Nov. 14 to serve as the city’s new mayor for a two-year term. City Council members unanimously approved Bowman for the top spot.

She will serve until 2021, at which time she will be eligible for re-appointment or to finish serving the last two years of her four-year council term as elected on Nov. 5.

Bowman said she’s humbled by the nomination and the confidence her council colleagues have in her to fulfill the role.

“It’s exciting. I sat at (mayor) pro tem for two years, but that’s no guarantee that it’s going to transition to the new position, so it was really exciting to know council has that confidence in me,” she said.

Schneemann agreed that, while it’s not automatic for the sitting mayor pro tem to move into the mayoral position, it’s a pretty common tradition in Farmington. That was one of a variety of reasons Schneemann nominated her to take on the position.

“I spoke with her, and she said she was ready to take on the added responsibility, because there is a significant amount of added time and responsibility that goes into the mayor position,” Schneemann said. “A lot has happened in Farmington over the last couple of years, and I think (Bowman) is going to be working real hard to continue those things. I have the utmost confidence in her.”

Bowman also recognizes that there have been a few large projects — The Maxfield Training Center rehabilitation and the Farmington Road streetscape — that City Council has gained a lot of momentum on. She’s looking forward to continuing that momentum with the same team that started those initiatives.

Atop Bowman’s personal priorities list is looking at how the city can invest in its parks, streets and sidewalks.

“We have very limited resources, but to make smarter investments to make our parks more inviting and more fulfilling for a lot of different activities is something that’s also been really high on my priorities,” she said. “And then the obvious: streets and sidewalks. How do we spread the money around and do the most good for the most people? We have to be creative with our funding. We have to try to coordinate as much as we can with water and sewer when the opportunity arises so we can consolidate those funds. Really that’s the No. 1 priority of most people when you speak to them.”

At the Nov. 14 special council meeting, new appointments were made to the city’s various boards and commissions, including the Downtown Development Authority, the Board of Retirees, the Election Committee and the Grand River Corridor Improvement Authority, among others.

Bowman said she would like to open up a conversation about more evenly spreading the various committees among council members, but one committee she won’t be giving up is her seat as the Downtown Development Authority board director.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity to work more closely with the DDA,” she said. “That’s a group that I really feel is doing some great work in our downtown.”

Schneemann thinks Bowman’s biggest strength moving into the mayoral position will simply be how well ingrained she is in the ecosystem of the city.

“She was born and raised in Farmington. … I think Farmington is in her DNA and vice versa, and because of that history and her enthusiasm, I think she’s going to make a great leader,” he said. “But she’s also well balanced when it comes to listening to different sides and considering the opinions of different perspectives. From that regard, that’s a real strength she brings to the position.”

As Bowman takes the helm as Farmington’s new leader, she not only encourages people to reach out to her, whether through digital correspondence or a quick chat as they see her out in the community, but to also explore their interests and find ways they can become involved in what the city is doing.

“There are countless community engagement opportunities. It doesn’t necessarily need to be on a formal board or commission,” she said. “Feeling like you’re really part of your community is by being involved and doing something you enjoy.”