Mayoral candidate Theresa Rich campaigns outside of Kenbrook Elementary School Nov. 7. Rich went on to win her election bid in the general election.

Mayoral candidate Theresa Rich campaigns outside of Kenbrook Elementary School Nov. 7. Rich went on to win her election bid in the general election.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

New mayor, three council members named in Farmington Hills

New mayor to focus on diversity

By: Mark Vest | Farmington Press | Published November 16, 2023


FARMINGTON HILLS — A mayoral race and three open seats on the Farmington Hills City Council were all decided Nov. 7.

Theresa Rich was successful in her campaign to be the next mayor of Farmington Hills, as she was elected to a two-year term, finishing with 8,829 votes. Her opponent, Kenneth D. Massey, had 8,323 votes.

“I’m really delighted to have been selected by our residents to lead this city that I love and that has been my family’s home for over 30 years,” Rich said. “I look forward to being the mayor for all 83,000 of us.”

Rich and the members of the City Council will be sworn in Nov. 27.

Rich previously served a four-year term on Farmington Hills’ City Council.

The population of Farmington Hills is known to be diverse, and that is one of Rich’s primary areas of focus.

“I think the top thing we need to do is focus on re-establishing Farmington Hills as a destination city and continue to build this as a community that works for everybody,” she said. “We are one of the most diverse cities of our size in the country, so we need to make sure all the voices are sought and heard.”

Rich cited public safety, transparency in government, and being accessible to residents as keys for the city.

“I think the role of mayor is to be the city’s No. 1 cheerleader, and so I need to make sure we have strong local, regional and national partnerships, and really work toward the private,” she said.

During the campaign, she got an idea of what some residents want to see.

“I had a lot of questions from residents about services for seniors,” Rich said. “While I am mayor we are going to become a city that has more households with seniors than households with school kids, so  we need to make sure that we are providing the services and amenities that our seniors need.”


City Council race
Bill Dwyer, Jackie Boleware and Jon Aldred were elected to the three open City Council seats.

Each of the candidates earned a four-year term.

Dwyer was the top vote-getter, finishing with 8,937 votes. Boleware finished with 7,920 votes, and Aldred with 6,958.

Dwyer, who is the current police commissioner for the city of Warren, is set to serve for the first time on City Council. At press time, he wasn’t certain if he would continue in his role as a police commissioner.

Among his experience, Dwyer served as the Farmington Hills police chief for approximately 23 years and as an Oakland County commissioner for eight years.

Dwyer said that he has lived in Farmington Hills for 38 years and is committed to the city.

He described himself as a decision maker who works with both Democrats and Republicans.

“The role of City Council and local government is, I think, critically important to the success and transformation of the community, and I’ve been in other previous leadership positions, and I understand,” Dwyer said. “I think I bring to the table someone with a lot of experience in finance. I have a $50 million budget here in Warren. I’ve dealt with personnel issues; I’ve dealt with major problems.”

Dwyer discussed what he considers to be the keys to getting positive things accomplished in Farmington Hills.

“Listen to the residents, listen to the taxpayers, and take their concerns as a high priority and make sure that you follow through with commitments that you make to these residents, and I think a lot of it, as far as my experience, is gonna be very beneficial to the taxpayers of Farmington Hills, because I’ve got 60 years of experience and I’m a go-getter,” he said. “While I was a county commissioner for eight years I worked across the aisle, so I plan on working with all members of City Council, the new mayor, and make sure that we’re united and doing what’s right for the people and taxpayers … of Farmington Hills.”

From Dwyer’s perspective, what residents want for Farmington Hills is economic development and to remain  “one of the most diverse communities in the state, if not the country.”

He expressed confidence in the role that he can help play for the city.

“I’ve lived in Farmington Hills for 38 years; I was the police chief there for 23 years, so I’m pretty well known as the person that is professional and is concerned about this city, and they can count on me,” Dwyer said.

Boleware was re-elected to a seat on the City Council.

Aside from addressing the high cost that comes with running The Hawk and figuring out a solution for that, she addressed other issues facing the city.

“I think the second for me is the whole DTE issue, our infrastructure and power outages that are occurring (in) Farmington Hills and Farmington — even on a good day, a sunny day, your power may still go out,” Boleware said. “So that is a concern. And for third, it’s the deer. I’ve heard so many complaints about the deer and how we address the overpopulation of deer in Farmington Hills.”

Boleware said that it’s good to have a diversity of opinion on City Council, and she is a proponent of continuing with an approach that has been previously utilized.

“In the past, what we’ve done is, we all don’t think alike, but we usually come to a (consensus) that’s kind of agreeable to everyone,” she said. “We’ve been able to move several things forward in that way, and I hope that approach will continue.”

Boleware is of the opinion that residents in Farmington Hills have been pleased with the direction of the city.

“(The) majority of people who live in Farmington Hills are happy with what we’re doing,” she said. “They’re happy with the safety. Of course there’s always concerns about taxes and how much they are.”

Aldred was elected to his first seat on the City Council. He already has an idea about something that he would like to be a part of being involved with in his new role.

“One of the things that’s ongoing right now, at least within the city function itself, is reviewing the master plan for the city,” he said. “I think that’s important for the city. I don’t know how many people within the city actually realize that’s going on, but it is important with regards to what we do going forward for development in the city, how we attract new retail, new dining, where we put development, (and) where we put housing of different types. Those are all important parts, and I think that’s something that City Council wants to do, actually firm that up pretty quickly.”

Deer overpopulation, potential development in the city, and traffic congestion were among the issues that Aldred indicated he heard about while on the campaign trail.

“The other thing I would say is the future of the Costick Center,” he said. “What people, I think, tend to agree is, the most important thing is that the services are maintained for seniors. … We have to look at the cost, with the right way of providing those services.”

Call Staff Writer Mark Vest at (586) 498-1052.