With Coulter’s Resignation, The Process in Ferndale Moves Forward

With Coulter’s Resignation, The Process in Ferndale Moves Forward

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Aug. 19 2019)

Ferndale, MI – Ferndale Mayor Dave Coulter resigned at a special meeting Monday morning, passing the gavel along to now Acting Mayor Greg Pawlica who had been the Mayor Pro Tem. Coulter was appointed to the position of Oakland County Executive on Friday morning.  Coulter had to resign as Mayor in order to take that position, and is expected to be sworn in Monday.

That appointment comes after the death of longtime County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. Coulter served in the Oakland County Commission from 2002-2010, where he also served as the Democratic minority leader. He was appointed Mayor of Ferndale in 2011 after former Mayor Craig Covey resigned. Earlier this year he announced he would not be seeking re-election for Mayor so he would be free to run for State Representative in the 2020 election.

The resignation is the latest in a series of changes in Ferndale’s local government.  Councilperson Melanie Piana resigned July 8 so that she could run for Mayor.

Ferndale City Council accepted applications to fill the remainder of her term, appointing Dennis Whitte who will serve until the end of this year. He is among several candidates running for the remaining two year partial term in the Nov. 5, 2019 election.

With Coulter’ resignation, Pawlica is acting Mayor while the city goes through a similar process to name a Mayor who will serve the remaining couple months of 2019.


Council decided Monday morning to accept applications from the public for the short term Mayor’s position. Applications will be accepted until 4pm on Sept. 3.  Council will hear from candidates at the Sept. 9 City Council meeting, and will make a decision. They have 30 days to appoint someone.  Applications will be available on the City of Ferndale website.

Piana is on the ballot for that seat in the Nov. election, as well as Brian Stawowy.  They are not precluded from applying for the seat.  Current councilmembers are welcome to apply as well.  Pawlica stated “I have definitely decided I am not running for this temporary interim seat.”  He explained that if he were appointed, he would have to resign his Council seat and would lose two years of the opportunity to serve.

Council could have appointed someone directly to the spot, with Attorney Dan Christ noting that it is Council’s prerogative to decide upon the process leading up to the appointment.  “The priority is consistency in process and certainly transparency,” said Councilperson Dan Martin before voting to approve the application process.  Martin’s time on Council is coming to an end this year as well, as he chose not to seek re-election.

On Nov. 5, there are two seats for City Council with a full four-year term. Candidates for that race are Ben Buttolph, Nada Daher, Augusto Flores, Kat Bruner James, and incumbent Councilperson Raylon Leaks-May.

There is also a two year term City Council seat that was vacated by Melanie Piana, who had to resign in order to run for Mayor due to the rules of the City Charter.  Rolanda Kelley, Laura Mikulski, Maryanne Wessels, and Dennis G. Whitttie are vying for that position.

More information:

Oakland County Clerk

Michigan Secretary of State

Oakland County Times Nov. 5, 2019 candidate interviews

Oakland County Times 2019 election news page

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