Shores honors former officials

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published December 21, 2012

 Former Grosse Pointe Shores Mayor and Council President James Cooper and former Mayor Pro Tem Rose Garland Thornton — believed to be the longest-serving elected official in the Shores, with more than 20 years on council — were among those honored by the current mayor and council at a Dec. 18 meeting.

Former Grosse Pointe Shores Mayor and Council President James Cooper and former Mayor Pro Tem Rose Garland Thornton — believed to be the longest-serving elected official in the Shores, with more than 20 years on council — were among those honored by the current mayor and council at a Dec. 18 meeting.

Photo by K. Michelle Moran

GROSSE POINTE SHORES — The mayor and City Council ended the year by reviving an old tradition.

During a Dec. 18 City Council meeting — the last regular meeting for 2012 — Mayor Ted Kedzierski presented several former council members with proclamations in their honor and gave the final remaining President’s Award to former council President James Cooper, who was also the city’s first mayor. The latter honor had traditionally been bestowed upon council presidents, and Cooper was the last president, having served the Shores when it was a village and also having been elected the first mayor, when the Shores became a city in 2009. The President’s Award was a tradition established by former council President Ed Brady; Kedzierski said he only learned of this tradition while attending Brady’s recent funeral.

By email, Cooper said Brady introduced the President’s Award in 1992.

“The city could not operate without its volunteers,” said Kedzierski, noting that the Shores recognized its committee members during a September picnic, paid for by contributions from council members and the city manager.

“The ultimate volunteers to serve in our community are the council members,” Kedzierski continued. “(They) make their contribution because they want to serve their community.”

In the Shores, neither the mayor nor members of the council receive financial compensation for their work.

Cooper was honored for 12 years of service to the city. Other council members acknowledged with proclamations for serving on the council, as well as other committees, included Victoria Boyce for her nine years of service, David Galbenski for a year and a half of service, Brian Geraghty for five years of service, Dr. Brian Hunt for nine years of service, Karl Kratz for seven years of service, Fred Minturn for six years of service, Glenn Peters for six years of service and Linda Somers (formerly Linda Walton) for 10 years of service. With 19 years on the council and in other capacities, Robert Graziani was acknowledged as the second-longest serving official, but Kedzierski said former Mayor Pro Tem Rose Garland Thornton “holds the record,” having served for more than 20 years.

After the awards were distributed, Cooper said Thornton was the last recipient of the President’s Award, having received it in 2007, the year she retired from the council at the age of 88. Cooper said the award had been given out at the council’s annual Christmas luncheon, a tradition that ended in 2008.

“It’s the highest civilian honor given (by Grosse Pointe Shores),” Cooper said of the award, noting that he was especially delighted to be honored alongside Thornton, who served as his first mayor pro tem.

Thornton, who has lived in the Shores for 60 years, had praise for her former colleague, as well.

“He’s the best,” she said. “And he’s got a wonderful family. … (He’s) just a wonderful person.”

Friends, relatives and other former Shores officials packed council chambers for the brief ceremony, which was followed by a reception at City Hall for the recipients.

“We couldn’t operate the city without the council,” Kedzierski told attendees.

Outgoing state Rep. Tim Bledsoe, D-Grosse Pointe City, was honored with a proclamation for the four years he has represented the Grosse Pointes, Harper Woods and part of Detroit in Lansing.