Three Saline City Council members will see their terms expire at the end of 2016. David Rhoads, Dean Girbach and Janet Dillon were elected to two-year terms in 2016.
Of the three, Girbach is the only candidate to announce his intention to see reelection. Rhoads told The Saline Post that he will not seek reelection. Dillon has not yet revealed her intentions to The Saline Post.
Rhoads, 75, is completing his fifth term on Saline City Council.
“My life plans have been changed by the death of my wife, Leslee Niethammer. I have been honored to have been elected five times and after serving for ten continuous years, I believe it is time to step aside and let another serve,” Rhoads said, adding that he believes the city is in good condition. “I believe the City is in good hands and is working its way out of the reduction in staff and services caused by the reduction in revenue.”
At more than nine years, Rhoads has the longest active continuous run on city council. Mayor Brian Marl said that whoever replaces Rhoads will have big shoes to fill.
“He’s done tremendous work for the city. He has more energy and enthusiasm than most people half his age. He always comes to city council meetings prepared, with good questions, thoughtful insights and thoughtful suggestions,” Marl said. “He’s been a leader on economic development issues, environmental issues and a whole host of quality of life issues.”
Marl said Rhoads’ voice will be missed at the council table.
“But I have no doubt he’ll continue to serve with great distinction these last six months of his term. And I know he’ll find a way to contribute, moving forward,” Marl said.
The one person with more city council experience than Rhoads is Girbach, though his time on the council has not been continuous. Girbach will be seeking a sixth term on city council.
“Besides enjoying the experience, it's my way of giving back to the community. Saline needs dedicated and qualified citizens willing to serve,” Girbach said.
Girbach, who is a financial lead manager at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, said the City of Saline serves its citizens fairly well, but challenges loom.
“The city for the most part continues to meet the expectations of its citizenry. We are fortunate to see redevelopment and infill leading to growth in our tax base. However, we will continue to face challenges in the funding of road repair, new projects and resolving unfunded pension liabilities,” Girbach said. “Managing our priorities will be key in balancing our "needs" with "wants" for the foreseeable future.”
Dillon, first elected in 2014, has not yet revealed her intentions to The Saline Post.
Candidates wishing to appear on the November ballot must return a nomination petition, signed by 50 City of Saline registered voters, to the city clerk’s office by 4 p.m., July 21.