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Piana Resigns to Run for Ferndale Mayor, Applications to Fill Vacancy Due July 29

Piana Resigns to Run for Ferndale Mayor, Applications to Fill Vacancy Due July 29

(Crystal A. Proxmire, July 8, 2019)

Ferndale, MI – Melanie Piana resigned from her position on City Council Monday evening so she can run for the Mayor position. The Ferndale City Charter requires that council members resign if they run for Mayor.

This leaves an immediate vacancy on City Council, plus it adds a partial term council position that will be included on the November 5, 2019 ballot.

Ferndale City Council voted Monday to accept applications for the vacancy with a deadline of end of business day July 29. Council voted to move the Aug. 12 City Council meeting to Aug. 5 to be within the 30 window of needing to fill the seat. Those interested in the position can apply online using the Boards and Commissions application.

The City has also added a page with information for those interested in applying.

Those interested in running for the vacant partial term seat need to get at least 100 but no more than 150 signatures of registered Ferndale voters on a nominating petition due by 4pm on Tuesday, July 23 at the City Clerk’s office.

Those running for full term seats also have the same deadline and signature requirements.

Several candidates have already begun campaigning for the four-year council seat, with others having pulled petitions. Picking up petitions does not mean that an interested person will end up on the ballot. Councilperson Raylon Leaks-May has already turned in her petitions for re-election. The other seat up this year is Dan Martin, who has decided not to run.

Augusto Flores has already turned in the required signatures for City Council. Others that pulled petitions include Dustin Bowerman-Hagfors, Nada Daher, Kat Bruner-James, Ben Buttolph, and Leanna Sullivan. Beau Perry also pulled petitions but does not meet the two year residency requirement. Brian Stawowy has pulled petitions for Mayor. And Dennis Whittie has pulled petitions for the 2 year partial term seat.

Candidates who have pulled petitions for the four year seat cannot use those signatures if they opt to instead run for the partial seat; they must get new petitions and start over.

Current Mayor Dave Coulter is making a run for State Representative in the 27th House District that includes Berkley, Ferndale, Hazel Park, Huntington Woods, Oak Park, Pleasant Ridge and Royal Oak Township. That seat is currently held by Robert Wittenberg, who cannot run again due to term limits.

As for Piana, resigning was tough, but necessary. Not only did she have to give up her seat on City Council, but her position as President of the Michigan Municipal League, an organization that educates and connects local elected officials throughout the state, as well.

“My run for mayor has been one filled with so much excitement but a little sadness too, to be honest,” Piana said before Monday’s meeting. “When I learned what I had to give up in order to run for mayor–resign my council seat and then resign 2.5 months early as the Michigan Municipal League Board President, I know that I’m 100% committed to representing Ferndale as Mayor.”

She promised to be out campaigning on her bicycle, and that she would stay involved in community discussions in the coming months.

“I’ve been tenacious in representing our community while on council and through my involvement at MML. I believe in the power of local government to positively impact our lives and will be listening to residents needs and sharing my vision between now and November 5th. I’m all in!”

Ferndale Mayor Dave Coulter is endorsing Piana to be next in the center seat on the Council dais. “Melanie has served with me my entire nine years as mayor, and I value her knowledge, advice and friendship. She has a deep understanding of the needs of Ferndale, and has led on important issues like affordable housing and environmental sustainability, and she’s also been a voice for leaner and more transparent budgeting. I’ll miss her on council, but my hope is that her service to Ferndale is not over.”

Coulter presented Piana with a proclamation commending Piana for her “contributions to the city,” and listing ways she has been involved in the community including being elected in 2009, being a SEMCOG Taubman Fellow, and serving on the Regional Transit Authority Advisory Committee. “I hope to see you here in January,” he said.

For more election related stories check out the Oakland County Times 2019 Election Section. We invite all candidates to do a short video interview. Contact us at to schedule.

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