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Owens elected mayor in Eastpointe, Roseville voters OK pension proposals

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published November 6, 2019




EASTPOINTE/ROSEVILLE — Eastpointe and Roseville residents were able to go to the polls Nov. 5 and make their voices heard in a variety of local elections.

Eastpointe’s new mayor will be Monique Owens, who was elected to Eastpointe’s City Council in 2017. She received 1,648 votes, or 32.5% of ballots cast. She narrowly beat out fellow City Council member Michael Klinefelt, who received 1,629 votes, or 32.1% of ballots cast. Councilman Cardi DeMonaco Jr. received 1,289 votes, which was 25.4% of the ballots cast, and challengers Harvey Earl Creech and Tonia Gladney received 352 and 157 votes, or 6.9% and 3.1% of the votes, respectively.

Owens will serve a four-year term and replace longtime Eastpointe mayor Suzanne Pixley, who is retiring after having served in the position for 12 years.

“I feel blessed,” she said. “When God chooses you to do something, it feels unbelievable that you can be the one to show other people that they have power and they have a vote. No matter where people come from or who they are, they can achieve.”

Owens was elected as the first African American member of Eastpointe’s City Council in 2017 and will now serve as the city’s first African American mayor. She believes this is a big step for the city.

“I think it’s important,” Owens remarked. “People can do and be whatever they want to be in Macomb County and throughout the world. I hope this inspires other people.”

Klinefelt called Owens Nov. 6 to congratulate her on the victory. Klinefelt said he would have to ask for a recount, which is often done in close races, for one to be implemented, and he stated that he has no intention of doing so.

“It was a close race,” he said. “Honestly, I’m just happy so many people came out to vote and all the candidates ran a clean campaign. I think that says a lot about what the people in our city expect from people running for office. I just wish the best of  luck to the new mayor and council moving forward.”

“(Klinefelt) called and congratulated me today,” said Owens. “There has been no word of any recount so far, but I know we have to wait until the final count is approved.”

She hopes to use her new position to help residents and bring more people and businesses into the community.

“My biggest priority is to help people with housing,” Owens explained. “We have a lot of renters in Eastpointe who want to become homeowners. I think we can take action to help them, particularly with our tax reversion properties. We also want to ensure these things will bring residents back to Eastpointe and businesses back to Eastpointe.”

Eastpointe voters also were able to weigh in on Eastpointe’s City Council race, in which four candidates ran for two four-year seats. This was the first year that the city utilized ranked-choice voting to select the winners, in which voters ranked their choices rather than selected their top two candidates.

The candidates included Harvey Curley, Larry Edwards, Mary Hall-Rayford and incumbent Sarah Lucido. Lucido and Curley were elected to the council.

In Roseville, three incumbents ran for reelection unopposed for another four years on the City Council. 

Catherine Haugh received 3,233 votes, Colleen McCartney received 3,102 votes and Charles Frontera received 3,081 votes. Voters could select up to three candidates. A total of 4,814 votes were cast in the election.

Eastpointe residents voted down a proposed charter amendment on the ballot that would have removed a requirement that any candidate for city manager have at least one year of experience as either a city manager or assistant city manager. Proponents said it would reduce the time it takes to find a city manager, something Eastpointe has had to do twice in the last two years.

According to the Macomb County Clerk’s Office, 2,570 people, or 52.2% of votes cast, were against the proposal, while 2,354 people, or 47.8%, were for it.

Eastpointe Community Schools’ Building and Site Sinking Fund Tax Proposition was approved with 2,478 voters casting “yes” votes and 2,254 casting “no” votes. This was a margin of 52.4% to 47.6%.

This measure will collect 3 mills — $3 per every $1,000 of taxable valuation — each year from taxpayers for a period of 10 years. It will provide the district with an estimated $1.5 million in revenue in 2020. The funds raised will help provide the district with additional school safety measures, building improvements and upgrades to its technology infrastructure.

In Roseville, residents voted on two ballot proposals to allow the city to create a pension program for its Police and Fire department personnel that will be separate from the other city employees. Proposal 1 asked voters to allow Police and Fire department personnel to be excluded from the current pension plan beginning with the 2020-21 fiscal year, while Proposal 2 allowed the city to establish the new, separate pension program for them.

Both were approved. Proposal 1 was approved 3,060 to 1,661 votes, which was a margin of 64.8% to 35.2%, while Proposal 2 was approved 3,161 to 1,578, or a margin of 66.7% to 33.3%.

City officials said that the new measure will provide the community with several benefits.

“This will more accurately reflect the pool of the employees in the city,” City Attorney Tim Tomlinson said in September. “Fire and safety make up the majority of the beneficiaries (of the city’s pensions), so this will allow us to look at them in a more accurate way, and look at what is needed for them as beneficiaries and the needs of other city employees — both with more specificity.”

Call Staff Writer Brendan Losinski at (586) 498-1068.