MML #5 – Michigan Municipal League CEO Reflects on Year…

BoysGirls_trait_01MML #5 – Michigan Red Door Realty Ad _own_your_dreamMunicipal League CEO Reflects on Year of Successes and Challenges

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Sept. 27, 2016)

Mackinac Island, MI – A Michigan Municipal League convention would not be complete without an update about the organization itself.

MML Executive Director and CEO Dan Gilmartin addressed over 500 representatives from cities, townships and villages from around the state of Michigan at the convention on Sept. 15.

The group serves 533 communities and has a mission to The Michigan Municipal League is dedicated to making Michigan’s communities better by thoughtfully innovating programs, SaharaNEW02energetically connecting ideas and people, actively serving members with resources and services, and passionately inspiring positive change for Michigan’s greatest centers of potential: its communities.

The staff of 39 is based in Ann Arbor.

“We try to stay ahead in innovation.  We find out what other people are doing that’s working,” he said.  They have also taken the lead in trying to come up with solutions for community-level problems, particularly funding issues.

“When you go into many communities, they know what to do, but don’t have the capacity to get there.”  Educating the public about decreased funding from the state has been part of the organizations advocacy, along with the legal, public relations, and policy issues that tie into that.

One big success was fighting PA269, known as the gag order law. This law prevented garden16_helaine_zackgovernment entities or officials from sharing information about election issues.  Bodies has already been prevented from encouraging voters to vote one way or another, but providing information about ballot issues has been an important part of governance.  The law silenced transparency and would have made it harder to pass the local millages and proposals necessary to fund general funds, police and fire services, libraries and schools. Outcry from the public and local officials across the state, and a legal challenge, led to the law being ordered unenforceable by the courts.

The MML also submitted an Amicus brief to support the right of local governments to set their own “prevailing wage” requirements.  In the past 33 years, the MML has weighed in on 75 cases of importance to protecting the rights of municipalities.

Keeping communities abreast of changes in the laws that impact them is a major part of the HowesLocationwork of the MML.  But so is inspiring communities to thrive and helping them work together.

“We’re creating an entrepreneurial environment in our communities,” Gilmartin said.  Just like business cultures, cities need to innovate, standardize and optimize in all departments.

“This is your opportunity – this is your place to come and be part of this.  The more people in this, the more in Lansing, the more we can do,” he said.

The winner of the Community Excellence Award was also announced. The small mid-Michigan community of Beaverton was honored on Sept. 16 during the League’s Annual Convention on Mackinac Island.

According to Gilmartin, “The peer-nominated Community Excellence Award (CEA), ctechadaffectionately called “The Race for the Cup,” was started by the League in 2007 to recognize innovative solutions taking place in Michigan’s cities, villages and urban townships. It’s the highest and most prestigious award bestowed by the statewide League. The winning community receives a large cup trophy that they can display for the next year. Last year’s winner was the City of Westland.”

Beaverton, with a population of 1,100, won for bringing the community together to raise money to turn an old school building into a community activity center.

The convention was also the place for new MML Board Members to be announced.  The six members are Christine Burns, Spring Lake Village Manager; Andy LeCureaux, Hazel Park Councilmember; Richard Lewis, Traverse City Commissioner; Brenda Moore, Saginaw royal_servicesCouncilmember; Mark Vanderpool, Sterling Heights City Manager; and Juan Pete Zamora, Leslie Mayor.

The newly elected trustees join Executive Director & CEO Dan Gilmartin and the other volunteers who remain on the 2016-17 Board: Bliss; Bostick-Tullius; Kim Corcoran, Mayor Pro Tem, Ironwood; Wendell Dompier, Baraga Village President; Maureen Donker, Midland Mayor; Jason Eppler, Ionia City Manager; Rebecca Fleury, Battle Creek City Manager; Ken Hibl, Clare City Manager; Marcus Peccia, Cadillac City Manager; Melanie Piana, Ferndale City Councilmember; and Rusty Showalter, West Branch Mayor Pro Tem; Jeff Thornton, Negaunee City Manager; and Adam Umbrasas, Three Oaks Village Manager.

The board also thanked for their years of service outgoing President Jack O’Reilly, Dearborn Mayor; and board members Dan Greer, Jackson Councilmember; Bobby Hopewell, Kalamazoo Mayor; and Ed Klobucher, Hazel Park City Manager.ChamberAd_02

Lapeer City Commissioner Catherine Bostick-Tullius was selected as the 2016-17 vice president of the Michigan Municipal League Board of Trustees.

Bostick-Tullius was named board vice president by the 19-member board during the Michigan Municipal League’s 2016 Convention taking place this week on Mackinac Island. As vice president, she is line to become League president in 2017-18. In related action, the board selected Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss as the League’s 2016-17 president.

Gilmarting encouraged participants to take what they learned back to their communities, and vowed that the MML would continue to look out for municipalities “from Monroe to Ironwood and everywhere in between.”

The Michigan Municipal League is dedicated to making Michigan’s communities better by thoughtfully innovating programs, energetically connecting ideas and people, actively serving members with resources and services, and passionately inspiring positive change for Michigan’s greatest centers of potential: its communities. The MML has supported the oc115 with a scholarship to the conference.  Learn more about MML www.mml.org.

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