Voters choose new leaders in Birmingham, incumbents in Bloomfield Hills

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published November 3, 2015

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BIRMINGHAM/BLOOMFIELD HILLS — With the majority of seats open on both the Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills city commissions, voters took to the polls to decide which candidates would fill those spots.

In Birmingham, the commission will look dramatically different as soon as newcomers Patty Boardman, Pierre Boutros, Carroll DeWeese and Andrew M. Harris take their places at the commission table.

Boutros, owner of Mills Pharmacy and Apothecary, took the top spot with 14.90 percent of the vote, followed by attorney Boardman with 13.64 percent, attorney Harris with 11.88 percent and former automotive consultant DeWeese with 10.96 percent. The winners beat out nine other candidates for the commission spots.

They’ll fill the seats left open by longtime incumbents Scott Moore, George Dilgard, Tom McDaniel and Gordon Rinschler, who opted not to run for re-election this year. Thirteen candidates threw their hat in the ring for the four open seats. 

“Thank you, to the people of Birmingham, for their trust and support,” Boutros wrote to the Eagle after the election. “I am so honored to be given the opportunity to represent them. I’m looking forward to all of us working together for an even better Birmingham.”

Mayor Stuart Sherman said he couldn’t pinpoint which issue in particular drew residents to the polls, but he believes the community knew just how important the election was this time around.

“People understood that they needed to have a City Commission that would continue guiding the city in a positive direction,” Sherman said. “All the candidates brought different ideas to give the citizens of this community many choices.”

In Bloomfield Hills, however, the commission will look largely the same, as incumbent candidates Sarah McClure, Stuart D. Sherr, Michael Coakley and Michael J. Dul reclaimed their seats. They’ll be joined by newcomer Susan McCarthy for the coming term. The five were selected from a pool of nine candidates.

McClure, a finance expert who was first voted onto the commission in 2010, kept her spot with 16.02 percent of the vote. Mayor Pro Tem Sherr, a developer first appointed to his seat in 2012, followed close behind with 15.80 percent. Landscape architect and current Mayor Dul took 14.16 percent of the vote, with attorney Coakley trailing just behind at 14.03 percent. McCarthy, who works in business development, snagged the final seat with 12.42 percent.

“I think it was great that so many people decided to come out and run for City Commission, and I give them credit,” said McClure. “I think the group that was elected will serve the residents well, and I look forward to working with everybody.”

“I am thrilled to receive one of the highest vote totals from our residents,” said Sherr in an email. “I appreciate the trust and confidence the voters have shown me and will work hard to earn their trust. I am proud to be one of the leaders in our community and look forward to a bright future for our great city.”

According to Birmingham City Clerk Laura Pierce, the stream of voters throughout the day Nov. 3 seemed to be typical of a local election, with nearly 23 percent of registered voters casting a ballot at precincts or by absentee.

Bloomfield Hills City Clerk Amy Burton, however, said the turnout was relatively lackluster, with a total of 796 ballots cast.

“Voter turnout at the polling locations has been light,” said Burton in an email, adding that it was difficult to gauge how the election would go in the city since all five commission seats were open. “It seems a little low for a local election.”

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