A Panegyric for David Rhoads at His Final City Council Meeting

 12/21/2016 - 13:24

The first item on the agenda of Monday’s Saline City Council meeting was, as Mayor Brian Marl noted, “a bittersweet occasion.” After ten years of service, this meeting would be the last for Mayor Pro Tem David Rhoads as a member of Council.

The mayor extolled Rhoads for his commitment to the community and his many fine qualities that have made him an effective leader.

“There’s a few things that people know about David,” Marl said. “Obviously, they know that he’s intelligent, he comes to meetings and he’s well prepared, he’s thoughtful, he offers keen observations and asks good questions.”

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But Marl went on to talk about two of Rhoad’s less recognized attributes. The first involved the degree to which Rhoads is integrated into the Saline Community, known to most community members and knowing most.

“His track record is pretty impressive that when somebody comes to him with a question or a concern, he gets back with them and helps to get the issue resolved,” Marl said. “I think he’s a great example of somebody who helps our citizens, our business people, get the most out of their government.”

The second quality that Rhoads brought to the community, Marl said, was his diligence in “leveraging new economic development opportunities.” He has helped new businesses not just by bringing them in, but also in advising and encouraging them in their startup years.

“David has been a tireless advocate for jobs, for investment, for additional business activity in the Saline community,” Marl said.

Of course, Rhoads has been involved with many more aspects of the community than City Council. He has been a member of the Environmental Commission, the Friends of the Saline River Board, the Historic District Commission, the Local Access Cable Television Commission, the Parks Commission, the River Raisin Watershed Council, the Saline Youth Council, the Tax Increment Finance Authority, the Economic Development Trust Fund, Saline Main Street and various local civic organizations.

In addition, Rhoads took it upon himself to buy a 17-acre piece of land at the corner of Saline-Milan Road and South Maple Road to keep it as a nature preserve for the community. He then helped form an organization to pay for and oversee the development of the parcel. After the untimely death of Rhoads’ wife, Leslee, the group renamed it the Leslee Niethammer Saline River Preserve.

City Clerk Terri Royal and Deputy Clerk Aimee Bloom prepared a plaque to present to Rhoads, to honor him and express the gratitude of the local community for his leadership. Mayor Marl read the plaque before handing it to Rhoads.

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The Chair of the Saline Environmental Commission, Dennis Kittel also had a tribute for Rhoads. He presented him with the Saline Be Green Recognition Award, featuring a tile made by Motawi Tileworks.

“It has been a great ten years and I’m glad that I was able to be of some assistance to the governance of our fine city,” Rhoads said.

Marl noted that Rhoads service to the community did not start with his election to City Council and it’s unlikely to end there. He continues to be involved in community projects.

Bob Conradi Is a retired pharmaceutical scientist who has redefined himself as a photographer and journalist. He has lived in Michigan for 36 years and in the Saline area for 10. He enjoys researching and learning about new ideas. Reach him at bobcphotography@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter at @RobertConradi.
Bob Conradi Is a retired pharmaceutical scientist who has redefined himself as a photographer and journalist. He has lived in Michigan for 36 years and in the Saline area for 10. He enjoys researching and learning about new ideas. Reach him at bobcphotography@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter at @RobertConradi.