Our F2H Votes series brings you candidate interviews and information about the 2019 local elections in Farmington and Farmington Hills. Follow local election news on social media with the #F2HVotes19 hashtag.
We begin our coverage with the Farmington Hills mayoral race and candidates Richard Lerner and Vicki Barnett.
With Mayor Ken Massey term-limited this year, Farmington Hills city council member Richard Lerner says it’s important to have someone with experience step into the role.
“We have a lot of things we want to do in the next two to four years that need some leadership,” he said. “I think it should be someone from inside council.”
Specifically, Lerner said, officials will oversee conversion of Harrison High School to a state-of-the-art community center and implement the city’s new road millage. Also, officials will look to sell land around the Costick Center. Working with the Sisters of Mercy, who own the adjacent property, they hope to find a private developer to build a senior living community – for which the Costick Center would become a hub of activities.
“I think we’re trying to make Farmington Hills an attractive place to live for people of all ages,” Lerner said. “We want to be a community for life, where people can stay and age in place.”
For more than a year, Lerner has also been part of a task force studying whether to make broadband internet service a public utility in Farmington Hills and Farmington. A request for proposals seeking an expert consultant to lead a feasibility study has an August due date.
“We could be the first ‘Smart City’ in Michigan,” Lerner said.
First elected to council in 2011, Lerner won a second term in 2015. He’s the council liaison to the Parks and Recreation Commission and, with previous service, has served about a dozen years with that group.
Professionally, he owns a small internet technology business and has owned several other businesses over the past 26 years.
Lerner is president of the Farmington Area Goodfellows, a group he says is “near and dear to my heart.” The organization ensures no Farmington area senior or child goes without a Christmas. He’s also on the boards of C.A.R.E.S. of Farmington Hills and the Xemplar Foundation, is a project manager for the annual Memorial Day Parade, and belongs to the Farmington Breakfast Optimist Club and Sons of the American Legion.
But he’s not the only member of his family who volunteers. Lerner said his wife, Maureen McCarthy, and college-aged children Keith and Lynn, started volunteering together 13 years ago.
“We just got more involved over the years,” he said. “That’s just we do in this family. We give back.”