Farmington council meets first round applicants

Farmington city council members on Monday met the first round of applicants for a seat left open with the January resignation of Bill Galvin.

In all, officials will interview nine people to fill out Galvin’s term, which expires in 2021. They are required by city charter to appoint a replacement within 60 days; if they don’t, the city must hold a special election.

The interviews consist of five questions provided to all applicants. Council members then have three minutes each to ask more questions or seek clarification with an answer. Applicants were also allowed to ask questions of council members.

Here’s a look at how the first five candidates responded when asked what one thing they’d like to accomplish on council:

Rachel Frantz is an Army veteran and a geriatric rehabilitation specialist. She wants to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to participate in their community. “Providing accessibility… that’s my passion,” she said.

Kevin Lieberum, a marketing manager with Ford Motor Company, sees great opportunity in the Winery/Powerhouse building at Grand River and Orchard Lake Roads, and said he wants to strengthen not only the downtown, but expand development throughout the city. “I think we fly under the radar,” he said. “I’d like to do things that will bring more people to our community.”

Todd Thomas, a 20-year veteran of the media business, said he is excited about helping the city think differently. “I want to keep it as that gem people like to visit and where they’d like to raise a family.”

Tom Buck, a business owner, former city council member and mayor, and current Downtown Development Authority (DDA) board member, said he looks forward to working with council on Farmington’s priorities, and “working with staff on how we accomplish those goals.” He’d like to see more interest in the Grand River corridor and “continue to work on the downtown and strengthening our neighborhoods.”

David Delind works as a supervisor with DTE Energy. He said his goal would be to see 100 percent of downtown storefronts filled. “It increases the profile of Farmington, and makes it more of a desirable place to live and work,” he said. “That’s quite important from a standpoint of services and opportunity for residents.”

Most candidates said they’d be willing to serve on another city board or commission, but not everyone was interested in running to keep the seat in 2021. Frantz said she would likely bow out; the other four said they would consider running, but not commit at this point.

On Tuesday, council members will interview Dorothy House, Greg Cowley, Geof Perrot, and Joy Montgomery. Interviews will start at 6 p.m.; each candidate has up to 30 minutes, and a 5-minute break is scheduled between each interview.

The 60-day clock runs out on March 6, but officials expect to vote on the appointment during their Tuesday, February 18, meeting.

The 6 p.m. meeting will be live-streamed at farmgov.com/City-Services/Government/View-Live-Meetings.aspx. Archived video of the interviews will be posted at farmgov.com/City-Services/Government/Agendas-and-Minutes/City-Council/2020.aspx.

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