Voters to select candidates for November ballot

Grosse Pointe Times | Published July 14, 2021

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In the Grosse Pointe Times’ coverage area, voters in three communities will decide Aug. 3 which municipal court judge and council candidates will be on the general election ballot in November. Candidates were asked, in 75 words or fewer, to state their top goal(s) if elected. If a candidate went over the word limit, (…) replaces the rest of the answer. (I) indicates the candidate is an incumbent. The answers are printed verbatim except where material is omitted due to personal attacks or items we know to be false or that are blatant misrepresentations.

 

Grosse Pointe Farms/Shores Municipal Court Judge
Three candidates are running for one four-year term. Only the top two candidates Aug. 3 will advance to be on the ballot in November.

Charles Berschback
Age: 64
Occupation: Attorney in private practice and former City Attorney / Prosecutor in Grosse Pointe Woods
Municipality of residence: Grosse Pointe Farms
For how long: 35 years
Online campaign information: www.chip4judge.com
Education: Wayne State Law School – J.D. 1983
University of Michigan – B.A. 1979
Austin High School
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals: (1) Meet with the Court Staff, City Administration, Judge Rumora, Public Safety and defense attorneys. Obtain their input regarding what improvements can be made to maintain the Court’s high level of administration of justice.
(2) Work with the State Court Administrator’s Office to implement their new procedures utilizing virtual hearings when appropriate, in order to make the Court more available to the public and other participants. However, most hearings should occur in open Court.

Dean C. Metry
Age: 65
Occupation: United States Judge
Municipality of residence: Grosse Pointe Shores
For how long: 10 years
Online campaign information: Metry4Muni.Com
Education: Bachelors of Science Central Michigan University (Cum Laude) 1977. Juris Doctorate Wayne State University Law School (Cum Laude) 1979. Masters of Laws (LLM) Florida Coastal School of Law (With Distinction) 2016
Previously held elected offices: N/A
Top goals: My goal as Municipal Judge is to reverse the trending decline in customer satisfaction for our court. With a total 41 years of legal experience including 25 years of quality public service and 20 years of judicial experience, I will give our residents 100% of my time as I improve their satisfaction. As the only candidate with actual judicial experience, I will continue to provide quality adjudications, as I have for the past 20 years.

Kevin M. Smith
Age: 65
Occupation: Attorney
Municipality of residence: Grosse Pointe Farms
For how long: 33 years
Online campaign information: smith4judge.com
Education: BA, University of Michigan, 1978; JD, Wayne State University Law School, 1981.
Previously held elected offices: N/A
Top goals: My top priorities will be to maintain the fair and impartial dispensing of justice and to insure that all who come before the Court are treated with respect and given a full opportunity to be heard. If elected, I will be committed to protecting the individual rights of each and every person coming before the Court while preserving the safety and welfare of our communities.

 


Grosse Pointe Park City Council
Seven candidates are running for three four-year terms. Only the top six candidates Aug. 3 will advance to be on the ballot in November.

Brian A. Brenner
Age: 46
Occupation: Chef/Owner Brian Abner Culinary
Municipality of residence: Grosse Pointe Park
For how long: 46 years
Online campaign information: www.Brenner4ParkCouncil.com
Education: B.S. in Chemical Engineering, Wayne State University
Previously held elected offices: None, however anyone willing to take on this sizable volunteer job in service to our community, willing to put in the hard work and due diligence required, should be considered equally regardless of prior elected office. Supporting evidence can be found on city councils everywhere
Top goals: Our most pressing needs are either mandated (lead water line abatement) or glaringly obvious (audit of water system, marina). Additionally, I will work to restore strained relations with our local philanthropic community. We all benefit from the work done by those who wish to give back to GPP. It is unfortunate that recent actions/policies of council have alienated those willing to share in their resources. This requires corrective action.

Thomas J. Caulfield
Age: 50
Occupation: Strategic Risk Consultant/Broker for Lockton Companies in Detroit
Municipality of residence: Grosse Pointe Park
For how long: Life-Long Resident of the Park.
Online campaign information: www.caulfieldgpp.org
Education: B.S. Management Finance, Johnson & Wales University, Providence, R.I.
Previously held elected offices: none
Top goals: My top issues (even prior to the latest flood) are crisis management, and infrastructure improvement. We need clear and effective disaster action plans for dealing with events. It is also time to take action and improve our infrastructure.  Discussing or thinking about it for years is not working. In addition, the need to address our lead pipes within our water supply, transparently identify our sewer capacity, improve alleyways, and fix our crumbling marina.

Christine Gallagher
Age: 54
Occupation: Consultant - Telecommunications Strategies
Municipality of residence: Grosse Pointe Park
For how long: 13 years
Online campaign information: ChristineGallagher4CityCouncil.com
Education: BA International Affairs, Magna Cum Laude, American University of Paris
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals: I will work collaboratively with our City Manager to promote a more effective government with sound planning and a strong budget. This year’s budget shortfall utilizing 25% of our existing surplus is not sustainable. Lead pipe replacement and sewer backup issues have identified major infrastructure needs as a primary focus. More dynamic city communication is required. There is no identifiable need for the current donor policy. We may need donor help to update the Marina.

Jeff Greer
Age: 54
Occupation: Director, Content Strategy, MRM//McCann Detroit
Municipality of residence: Grosse Pointe Park
For how long: 9 years
Online campaign information: https://greergpp.com
Education: Ph.D. Western Michigan University, 1999
M.F.A., University of Maryland at College Park, 1994
B.A., University of Maryland at College Park, 1989
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals: The recent storm backup reminded us that our water, sewer, and storm infrastructure is critically broken. Our community is at risk if we ignore this issue. I would strongly urge the City Manager to accelerate plans to improve the safety and reliability of our water supply and storm systems. This requires focus. The city council and administration must be laser focused on short- and long-term solutions to prevent this from happening in the future.

Tim Kolar
Age: 40
Occupation: State Office Administrator – State of Michigan
Municipality of residence: Grosse Pointe Park
For how long: 4 Years
Online campaign information: www.kolargpp.com
Education: MBA Candidate – University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, Gies College of Business. Accounting, Finance, International Studies – Indiana University, Kelley School of Business
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals: Infrastructure. Promoting Our City. Community Engagement.  We focus on those goals through a process of educating, evaluating, and communicating.  Educating ourselves about issues and best practices using experts, both hired and resident volunteers in the community. Evaluating the options for sustainability and fiscal integrity. Communicating to get community feedback on decisions and outcomes, with those communications done on a regular and frequent basis through numerous channels.

Darci McConnell (I)
Age: 53
Occupation: McConnell Communications, Inc. (Public Relations/Marketing/Crisis Management firm)
Municipality of residence: Grosse Pointe Park
For how long: 18 years
Online campaign information: www.darciforcouncil.com
Education: B.A., English/Communication, University of Michigan 1990; completion of executive education programs at Harvard and Dartmouth.
Previously held elected offices: Member of Grosse Pointe Park City Council since November 2020, precinct delegate.
Top goals: Maintain and upgrade our pipes, water mains, alleys, parks, and marinas; keep GPP a safe city; be a good steward of the budget; support businesses and residents impacted by COVID-19 and now, the storm. I will work with the city manager to create a crisis management plan, continue to address residents’ concerns, and keep residents informed. Provide transparent, innovative leadership honed during a 30-year communication career, entrepreneur, life of service and prior work with municipalities.

Max Wiener
Age: 39
Occupation: Engineer, Owner/Operator of Auto Parts Manufacturing Companies
Municipality of residence: Grosse Pointe Park
For how long: Since 2015
Online campaign information: www.max4gppcouncil.com
Education: Bachelor of Applied Science and Engineering from University of Toronto
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals: My goal is to get the focus of council back on the core issues in our city: Infrastructure, Public Safety and Budget. As an engineer with 2 decades owning and operating manufacturing businesses, I have a background that will be beneficial to tackling these issues, especially our water infrastructure challenges. Furthermore, I want to keep the council apolitical, partisanship and political activism have distracted our council from best serving the residents of Grosse Pointe Park.

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