Traverse City Will Have A New Mayor This Fall
After six years as mayor and 22 years on various city boards, Traverse City Mayor Jim Carruthers confirmed to The Ticker that he will not be running for mayor again this fall. Carruthers is still deciding whether to run for a term of commission that will open when Commissioner Roger Putman resigns in November, while former city commissioner Richard Lewis confirms he will run for mayor’s office. The city commission is expected to see significant sales in November, with incumbents like Putman, Christie Minnervini and Brian McGillivary leaving and a handful of new faces vying for seats.
Carruthers cites the time spent in office as mayor and competing personal claims as reasons why he will not seek a fourth term as mayor. In addition to his six-year tenure as mayor, Carruthers previously served two four-year terms as city commissioner and two four-year terms as commissioner for parks and recreation. “Richard (Lewis) and I had a chat a while ago, and I think it’s perfectly fine for him to run because I was considering not running again because of personal issues,” says Carruthers. “In my family life, I spend more time with aging parents and a husband who does not live in the same state … the time commitment has grown. Most people are not aware of this, it takes a lot of time and effort. “
Carruthers has picked up a package of nominations for the commission’s partially two-year term ending in 2023, which will be vacated by Putman, who announced last month that he would be stepping down on November 8 for health reasons. Carruthers and all other potential commission candidates must collect at least 70 signatures from city-registered voters by the July 20th submission deadline to appear on the ballot paper. “I took the petitions out, but I still haven’t made a formal decision (whether or not to run),” says Carruthers.
Putman and Carruthers aren’t the only incumbents changing gear on the city commission. Christie Minervini and Brian McGillivary, whose terms expire this fall, have both announced that they will not stand for re-election. Minervini, elected in 2019 to fill a part-time remaining after Michele Howard stepped down, said in an email to supporters on Monday that she had decided to stop running “to pursue other goals,” adding in addition, she would try to serve the city in other ways. “I am very grateful to have been given the opportunity to serve, and I am proud of our accomplishments over the past two years, even given the challenges of leading during a pandemic,” she wrote.
McGillivary recently emailed his colleagues that he will not take up another term this fall. “Due to my current personal and professional commitments, something has to give way and I will not be running for re-election in November,” he wrote. McGillivary added that he is keeping his campaign mark “because I might run again in the future, but not in 2021”.
The departure of so many incumbents has “strongly” influenced Commissioner Tim Werner, whose term of office ends this fall, to seek re-election in order to create continuity and “momentum” on the board. “I would have been less likely to run if more incumbents had tried to run, but with all of these other people who have resigned … it really came into the picture that I wanted to do so,” says Werner. He names the renovation of urban parking lots for residential construction, measures to combat climate change and “buried infrastructure” as central topics on his radar. “These three things put together, we have so much potential and we are going in the right direction,” he says. “I want to continue to be part of this process.”
In the meantime, at least two familiar faces – and a handful of new ones – will try to earn a spot in the commission. Lewis, who served as city commissioner from 2015 to 2019, previously serving as city manager for Traverse City for 17 years and for two years for St. Joseph, is the only candidate to receive a mayor nomination package to date. Lewis confirmed to the ticker that he will run for mayor but declined to make any further comments until he has officially submitted his records, which he plans to do this week or next. Werner says he thinks Lewis is “ready to move up. It’s a difficult place. We’re not a strong mayoral government and yet most people think we are, so it’s a challenge. I’m not interested.”
Mayor Pro Tem Amy Shamroe, on the other hand, has risen to the challenge – but will end the remainder of her term in office until 2023 before making a mayoral election. “I ran for re-election in 2019 with the intention of serving a four-year term, and there is still a lot to be done,” she says, citing her involvement on the Traverse City Light & Power Board and the city’s recreational marijuana ad hoc committee . “I am interested in running in two years when my term is up. By then, I’ll have been on the commission for eight years and have a lot of experience for the community. ”Although Shamroe says she’s ready to challenge Lewis in two years if he runs again, she calls him a“ good candidate for mayor ” for the coming term of office and says he is an “organizer and doer” who will aim at fixed schedules for maintaining a large urban infrastructure and projects will be made.
While Lewis is the only candidate for mayorhood so far, several candidates will compete for the three open full-time committee seats – and more candidates could show up in the next month before the deadline. In addition to Werner, former Grand Traverse County Commissioner Tom Mair picked up a nomination package for the commission. Mair, a familiar feature of past local election races, ran against Minnervini for Howard’s seat on the city commission in 2019 and was a 2020 candidate for the Michigan State Board of Education.
Two new contenders are in the commission race, including Mitchell Treadwell, a landscaper and river steward who attended Northwestern Michigan College and Michigan State University and is currently president of the Central Neighborhood Association. Treadwell serves on several city councils, including Parks and Recreation, the Traverse City Housing Commission, and the Board of Zoning Appeals. “Although I have long spoken on urban issues, ranging from public art to garbage disposal in parks to combating rainwater,” he says, “the past year has made it clear that the city needs to do more to make it affordable To create living space and diversify our economy. “, And pay the city’s employees a living wage so that the departments can better fill vacancies.”
Mi Stanley was born and raised in Traverse City, graduated from Traverse City Central High School and spent two years at Northwestern Michigan College before moving to Michigan State University. After a year of service with AmeriCorps, she spent 15 years in Syracuse, earning a Masters of Fine Arts from Syracuse University and teaching at Syracuse University before returning to Traverse City in 2017. Stanley is now the communications and marketing manager for Traverse Health for Clinic and says she felt obliged to step on the plate to my hometown after encouraging other parishioners to run for the town commission.
“One of the things I think about a lot is that I have no student loan debt, I don’t pay childcare, and my husband bought our house as a bachelor in 2013,” she says. “If any of these things weren’t true, I couldn’t live in Traverse City. I am an educated person in a professional career. We all know that housing is a difficult subject, but I really believe that our cops, our nurses, and our teachers should be able to afford to be part of the community if they want to live there. ”Besides housing, Stanley mentions them Infrastructure as a priority – “None of us want to see untreated sewage in West Bay,” she says – along with maintaining the senior programs at the Traverse City Senior Center on East Front Street. “It’s something that is very important to the people in this church … it would be a missed opportunity to see it elsewhere,” she says.
Pictured: Current City Commission, left to right: Brian McGillivary, Jim Carruthers, Christie Minervini, Ashlea Walter, Roger Putman, Amy Shamroe, Tim Werner