Royal Oak Commission Appoints Brandon Kolo to Vacancy
(Crystal A. Proxmire, Sept. 29, 2020)
Royal Oak, MI – The Royal Oak City Commission voted Monday to appoint Brandon Kolo to fill the vacancy left by the death of Commissioner Kim Gibbs just over a month ago.
Kolo currently serves at the Vice President of the Royal Oak Library Board. He also organized the Lawson Park Neighborhood Association.
On his application, Kolo worte “In 2019 I helped organize a community effort to provide feedback on a new multifamily development that replaced 15 single family homes in our neighborhood. I am proud that we were able to work with this City Commission and the developer to make changes to the proposed site plan that preserved the character of our neighborhood while improving housing stock in Royal Oak. Organizing community meetings, insisting on open dialogue, and cooperation with our city leaders, new homes are under construction today. This is the leadership approach I will bring as a City Commissioner.”
When asked what he sees as the three greatest challenges Royal Oak faces in the next 1-5 years, Kolo listed the need to replace lead service lines, the issue of affordable housing, and budgeting and long-term fiscal planning.
“We want Royal Oak to be a place where you can get your first place after college, and then later your starter home, and then a larger one to raise a family, and then have places to downsize after the kids move on. We are that community. and to remain that community we need to work to ensure the opportunity is available to all,” he said.
His application also included a list of over a dozen references including previous officials, leaders of the DDA, the Chamber, the Restaurant Association, the Sierra Club, the Veterans Events Committee, the Library Board, the Fire Department Board and more.
Kolo was one of over 40 applicants for the position. Commissioners each listed their top five choices and discussion wittled down the options. Commissioner Randy LeVasseur was the only “no” vote to Kolo’s appointment.
‘Brandon is very passionate about Royal Oak, and I respect and admire him for that. However, there are many competing perspectives among residents about the proper direction for our city, and many people do not feel their voices are heard,” LeVasseur told Oakland County Times following the meeting. “Kim Gibbs was a champion for the underdog, and I believed it appropriate to replace her with someone who would zealously advocate positions that are not otherwise in sync with the commission majority. I do not believe Brandon is likely to do that. As a result, many people will feel that their concerns are not important to their city government, even more so than before.”
Kolo is looking forward to being part of the city’s leadership team. “The commission has a busy year ahead and I am excited to be part of the discussions that will steer the community. We will deal with the economic impact of covid and how we can strategically emerge from the pandemic. While dealing with COVID there is still regular city business to attend to. Having been involved with negotiating changes to a development for my neighborhood association, I am looking forward to advocating for residents and neighborhoods at the table and finding solutions between neighbors and developers. I am also energized to continue expanding our green infrastructure. It’s only a matter of time before the next 100 year storm strikes and actions taken today will keep water out of basements tomorrow,” he said.
This term lasts until the 2021 election.