Seely not seeking reelection to Grosse Pointe Shores City Council

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published October 13, 2021

 Matthew Seely

Matthew Seely

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GROSSE POINTE SHORES — When residents fill out their ballots for the Nov. 2 general election, they’ll notice that a familiar name is missing.

After one term in office, Grosse Pointe Shores City Councilman Matthew Seely has decided not to run again. The uncontested council contenders will instead consist of incumbent City Councilman Robert Barrette, recently appointed City Councilman Donn Schroder and John Dakmak, who vied with Schroder to fill a vacancy left by the departure this year of Shores City Councilman Doug Kucyk.

“The people who are running are all good people, and I know the city will be in good hands,” said Seely, who has lived in the Shores for 22 years.

A CEO for a Detroit-based manufacturing firm, Seely, 57, was elected to the council in 2017. He said time is a big reason why he isn’t running for reelection.

“I have some other interests that I want to pursue,” Seely said. “I wouldn’t run for any office if I couldn’t give 100%. I’m really honored the residents gave me an opportunity to serve.”

Although Seely was new to the council, he wasn’t new to politics, having previously served as a precinct delegate. He also ran former President Donald Trump’s successful 2016 campaign in Macomb County.

While he has a number of supporters, Seely’s council tenure has also had controversy. Political memes he posted on social media in 2018 had some calling for his dismissal or resignation from council, although Seely said the outcry was politically motivated. Seely was also a vocal supporter of changes to retiree health care for Shores employees that increased their costs and, as the retirees argued, violated the terms of the labor contracts they negotiated with the city while they still worked there. Seely created a private Facebook page, the Friends of Grosse Pointe Shores, that posted city information but wasn’t an official city social media page and booted some of its detractors, leading to criticism and prompting the Shores Ethics Ordinance Crafting Commission to write an entire section devoted to city social media policy.

But Seely also championed causes with widespread support, such as a push for a new seawall along Lake Shore Road to replace the current, badly deteriorating one. Although a new seawall still hasn’t gotten funding or approval from Wayne County or federal officials, Seely was one of the local officials who pressed county and federal leaders on this issue.

And the combination of a July 4 concert and fireworks at Osius Park has proven a huge hit. Seely said the event drew about 2,000 attendees the first year, in 2019. It was canceled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but returned with a literal bang in 2021 and drew more than 2,000, he said.

“There’s been a real great feeling of community, and that’s something I’m proud of,” Seely said.

He has also advocated for infrastructure repairs and improvements, including a $16 million project for the Shores’ sewer system that will be paid for with bonds.

“It was a good experience for me on many levels,” Seely said of his time on the council. “Hopefully I made a positive difference. … We got a lot done in four years. There was a lot of change.”

During a council meeting by Zoom Aug. 17, Mayor Ted Kedzierski recognized Seely’s contributions.

“You were an instrumental part of all of the progress that’s being made (in the Shores),” Kedzierski told Seely.

Seely may not be running for reelection to the council, but he hasn’t ruled out another run for elected office, saying that he’s had “a lot of opportunities” presented to him.

“I wouldn’t run for the sake of running,” Seely said. “If you’re doing it the right way, it’s a big responsibility and it takes a lot of time.”

Seely’s last council meeting will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 19 at Shores City Hall. An agenda for that meeting had not been completed as of press time. For an agenda or more information, visit www.gpshores mi.gov.

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