Council Meeting Turns Concert of Praise As City Says Farewell to Mayor Covey
(Crystal A. Proxmire – 12/31/2010)
The Council Meeting of Dec. 28, 2010 turned into a concert of praise for outgoing Mayor Craig Covey, literally. The Mayor’s last Council Meeting crescendoed with presentations for the outgoing Mayor from many in the Ferndale Community, including a surprise performance by The Detroit Together Men’s Chorus and Covey’s favorite blues Musician Bobby Murray accompanied by Wiles Reddy. Covey is resigning officially on Jan. 3, 2011 so that he can assume his new position as County Commissioner.
Chris Hughes, of the Downtown Development Authority, gave a slideshow of Covey’s involvement in the community. When he moved to Ferndale in the late 80s, he started the organization now known as the Michigan AIDS Coalition. He helped create the ordinances that allowed for dancing in the city, and also for tattoo parlors. He founded the annual Pub Crawl, which benefits local charities, and was a regular dignitary at events and ribbon cuttings throughout the city. He even loves Ferndale so much that he recently had a fern tattooed on his forearm, which you can read about here.
Ann Hulbarth of Royal Oak said that Ferndale is a good neighbor, and that she doesn’t just know Covey as the Mayor of Ferndale, but as Mayor of the Blues Festival. She presented Covey with a blue pig plaque – the traditional symbol of the annual Festival which Covey founded over nine years ago.
Ann Heler thanked Covey for his leadership in Ferndale’s prominent gay community. He is well-known as the first openly gay elected Mayor in the State of Michigan, and has taken care to be a role model and mentor for others in the community. In October 2010, Covey went to U of M Dearborn to speak to a group of LGBT youth about political and social activism. He described the path which led him to be a leader in that community, an account which you can read here: https://oaklandcounty115.com/2010/10/15/coveygsa/.
Covey was elected to the Ferndale City Council on November 2, 1999, was re-elected in 2003, then elected to the office of Mayor for two consecutive terms by voters in 2007 and 2009. He will now represent Ferndale, Hazel Park, and the southern part of Royal Oak as County Commissioner for the 25th District. Coverage of his election can be found here.
Kate Baker, the current Mayor Pro-Tem, will be sworn in as Mayor on Jan. 3, 2011 and is expected to serve for approximately a month while City Council reviews applications to fill the empty spot. Council has the option of keeping Baker as Mayor, although she says that she is not interested in the position. According to Baker, twelve residents have put their applications in for the Mayor’s seat, including former Mayor Bob Porter, former County Commissioner Dave Coulter, and former candidate (unsuccessful) for Council and Mayor Tom Gagne.
The City also faces changes as City Manager Bob Bruner prepares to leave his position in February to take a City Manager position in Birmingham. An interim City Manager will be hired to fill in for approximately six months, while Ferndale conducts a search for a permanent position.
Covey gave a farewell speech, stressing that he’s not exactly leaving. “While I always try and finish what start, I do want to take this opportunity and apologize to the people of Ferndale for not finishing up this term as mayor.
I am so proud of this city though, and I do promise to continue to work hard and do the best job I can, for our city and the region, just wearing a different hat.” The full text of his speech can be found on his blog at http://coveys-corner.blogspot.com/. The full City Council meeting, concert and all, can be found at the City of Ferndale website at http://ferndale-mi.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=158.