Departing Holly Council Members Share Advice for Those Elected Tuesday

 

Departing Holly Council Members Share Advice for Those Elected Tuesday

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Nov. 5, 2018)

Holly, MI- Holly will have two new council members and possibly a new Village Council President after Tuesday’s election.  Those positions of public service come with a lot of work, public challenges, and the responsibility of making decisions that impact an entire community full of residents and businesses.

Dave Cruickshank and Suzanne Heiple decided not to seek re-election this year.  Cruickshank served for four years, and Heiple served for six years, having initially been appointed to finish a two year term.  Each shared some of their experiences on Council and their advice for incoming Council members.

Cruickshank ran for Council four years ago because he wanted there to be more transparency and accountability.

“Ask questions, anywhere, anytime. Get informed so you don’t make a bad decision,” he said.  “My advice for new council people: get to some classes to understand what is being talked about. Learn how a budget works, different funds, and how it all correlates to your job.”

He added, with emphasis, to “Be. A. Skeptic.”

“There is almost never a silver bullet answer, and any decision will always upset someone,” he said

Looking for ways to improve government efficiency and save taxpayers money has been important to Cruickshank.  “Specific example would be the Water Meter reading.  We’re going to get a digital read from installed sensors around town. Before, we were paying a DPW driver to literally drive up and down all the streets once a month and get the meter reading from a device in the truck. This happens for 3 days every month and does not included re-reads for the meters. This device will take about 2 years to make our money back and then DPW will gain back about 36 days of work!”

Though it was a lot of work, Cruickshank is happy he served.  “What I loved about Council is all the relationships I’ve built – from politicians at the state & local level, down to business owners in town, to the residents. That I wasn’t expecting. I’ve built meaningful friendships. I am forever grateful for my time,” he said.

In her six years on Council, Heiple found herself in the midst of heated discussions on several occasions.  “Consider the source and move on,” is the advice she gives to future council people.  “There will be times that your community, your administration, or you yourself will be publicly reprimanded – in person or on social media. As hard as it is sometimes, resist getting sucked into the drama-fueled rants, rages, and negativity that you will be exposed to during your time in office.

“Do not let your emotions control your reactions. There will always be those who strongly disagree with you and will only dig in their heels deeper if you try to convince them otherwise. Express and defend your reasoning in the meetings if you choose but let your decisions be guided by your knowledge and what you feel in your heart to be right – and then leave it there.”

At her final Council meeting, Heiple said “Against advice from my Father, George LaMarche, former Holly Village Manager, I decided to run for council. I’ve learned that I should have listened to my Dad. I’ve learned that there’s a lot more time and work involved than anybody knows until they start doing it. This job is probably not for a people-pleaser like me. Not every day is sunshine and rainbows. Some days, it’s a matter of disregarding utter falsehoods because no amount of listening, educating, or justifying will make any difference at all.

“However, this I know for sure – there is not one person up here who has not made their decisions based on what they feel is best for Holly. For those who have tried to shame us for not thinking or voting the way they would if they were up here, I whole-heartedly encourage you to take a turn sitting on this side of the table.”

Besides the need for thick skin, there are two more tools a Councilperson must have, kindness and education.

“Always remember to try to be kind. Even to the most rude, loud, annoying person – be kind. Don’t let the criticism that comes with the job turn you into a hard, jaded, un-respectful and sarcastic being. Listen more than you talk,” Heiple said.

And lastly she and Cruickshank both agreed that learning was key to success.  “Take advantage of as many of the learning opportunities as possible,” Heiple said. Both have participated in workshops through Main Street Oakland County, Michigan Municipal League and more.

In spite of the public pressure, Heiple has loved getting to know everyone on Council better, and gained even more appreciation for the staff.   “To Jerry, Debbie, Katie, the backbone crew in the corner and in the Village office- you are invaluable to me and to us. Thank you for your support, expertise, guidance, and especially Jerry – your calm demeanor in any challenge. I know I would not have made it through these 6 years without you,” she said at the council meeting.  “To everyone here in this room and in the community – Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve you. Your ideas, input, voicemails, emails, texts, and posts were mostly helpful and guided me in every decision I made. You are the reason why Holly is the best place to call home. I am proud to live here, proud to be from here, and proud to have had this honor. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege and I love you all.”

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6.  There are four candidates on the ballot for Village Council, plus one write-in option, with three seats available. Candidates are Richard Kinnamon, Rick Powers, Chris Rankin, Tim Terpening and James Scott Perkins (write-in).  For Holly Village President there are three candidates on the ballot for one seat. Candidates are: Nicole Edwards, John Lauve, and Thomas McKenney.

For interviews with candidates throughout Oakland County and information on ballot proposals visit http://oaklandcounty115.com/2018/05/01/2018-candidate-interviews-and-issues-nov-6-general-election/

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