Commercial Record

Douglas taps Toepper for council seat

By Scott Sullivan
Douglas City Council Monday appointed Phil Toepper to fill the seat of resigned member and former Mayor Pat Lion until her term expires in November.
After a 2-2-2 first-ballot tie between applicants Toepper, Demetrhea Terrien and Jeremiah Whiteley, council chose Toepper, a bartender at The Cove who cited his daily communication with city residents, with a 4-vote majority.
Initially Cathy North and Neal Seabert voted for Terrien, Mayor Jerry Donovan and Mike Van Loon for Whitely, and Aaron Miller and Robert Naumann for Toepper.
Donovan and Seabert switched to Toepper on the second ballot.
Toepper, whose family owns Marro’s restaurant in Saugatuck, is a longtime bartender at The Cove in Douglas who holds a political science degree from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.
“The board,” he said in his application, “works together to make decisions in the best interest of the community.”
His goal is “to take an active role in the future of Douglas,” Toepper said.
Terrien, who received 193 votes in her unsuccessful bid for city council Nov. 3, is a retiree who serves on the Tri-Community Recycling Committee.
“I have significant experience,” she said in her application, “with multiple stakeholders who at times were quite confrontational. I feel I have the skill set to effectively listen to people’s concerns and bring them forward for discussion.
“City council,” Terrien continued, “is responsible for the health and safety of the community. Strategic planning towards long terms and short terms is a constant priority.”
Whiteley is a sales and relationship management vice president for the Fund Evaluation Group, an independent, full-service investment advisory firm. He is a Singapore Yacht Club and Tower Harbor Condominium board member, and a Cow Hill Yacht Club member.
“My years of involvement,” Whiteley said, “give me the experience, skills, demonstrated expertise, insight and leadership ability to provide a positive impact to the City of Douglas’s future.”
Council praised all three applicants for their credentials and interest in city pservice. “The city has other public service seats come available over time,” said Donovan. “We hope all will continue their interest in participation.”
Lion, replaced as mayor with Donovan Nov. 15 in a 5-2 vote, emailed council and staff Nov. 24 that she was resigning.
“I sincerely hope the council and staff take a good hard look at your communication skills, or lack thereof, to effectively present information with respect no matter to whom,” she said.
Council has since named Cathy North to fill the mayor pro-tem seat Lion vacated. Her council replacement will serve until her term expires in November 2022.

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