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Frank Perez appointed mayor in Sturgis;Miller maintains vice mayor seat

Vice Mayor Aaron Miller and Mayor Frank Perez pose after the city commission’s organizational meeting. Photo by Dennis Volkert

Frank Perez was appointed mayor of Sturgis on Nov. 13 by the city commission, during its annual organizational meeting.
The board’s vote was 6-3.
Perez succeeds Jeff Mullins in the post. Mullins has served as mayor for the past two years.
Commissioner Richard Bir nominated Perez for the post. Robert Hile nominated Mullins.
Aaron Miller was reappointed as vice mayor, in a 5-4 vote over Bir.
After selecting the mayor and vice mayor, commissioners established appointments to city boards and committees and reviewed policies.
In an email statement to the media Tuesday, Mullins said it has been “an honor and a privilege” to serve as mayor.
“I never envisioned or sought the position,” he said. “Therefore, it’s very humbling to me that the commission unanimously chose me twice.”
Mullins extended congratulations to Perez on his appointment as mayor.
“This is something that’s very important to him, and something he’s really wanted — he worked extremely hard to make it happen,” Mullins said.
Mullins also saluted Miller on his reappointment.
“He is a steady hand, and I can’t think of anyone else who I would want to serve in that role at this time,” Mullins said.
Mullins said numerous accomplishments have occurred in the city, but challenges remain.
“I’m looking forward to working with my fellow commissioners to tackle those challenges and serve our constituents well, while, at the same time, showing gratitude and appreciation to our elite city manager and his outstanding staff,” he said.
In a phone conversation Tuesday with Sturgis Sentinel, Perez said, although he did not expect to receive the appointment, he was prepared if it did occur.
“It was a little bit of a shock, but I did get some calls asking if I was nominated, would I do it, and I said, ‘sure,’” he said. “I’ve always been one that when an opportunity presents itself, I take it.”
An immediate priority as mayor, Perez said, is connected to the hospital situation. Asker Corp. has agreed to purchase of the hospital, but several million dollars remain on repayment of the bond.
“We still have to pay, have to figure out a way to do it without raising taxes,” Perez said. “How to make this payment with the funds we currently have? There’s got to be a way to do this without putting putting burden on taxpayers.”
Another short-term objective, he said, is to set clear goals and expectations for the city manager.
Perez highlighted recent encouraging advances in the city.
“A lot of positive things in the city, a lot of development and new companies and small businesses coming into town. It’s pretty nice to see South Centerville Road and new facilities out there.”
Perez lauds road improvement brought by the streets millage, approved in May 2022.
“Although residents don’t like to see the construction part and hate inconvenience of detours, they see their tax dollars are well-spent. People want to see progress.”
He also outlined some long-term goals.
“I envision having the city readily available and open to business,” he said. “I’m not a fan of the red tape with the city to open a business. We need to have a streamlined approach.”
Ultimately, he wants overall progress for the community.
“I want a better city for my kids and grandkids to have a better place to live,” Perez said. “You really want to make a difference no matter what your social background is. Nothing is gonna change unless people want positive change.”
Perez represents the 4th Precinct, along with Hile. Miller holds the at-large seat.
Perez was appointed to the commission in April 2022, to fill the unexpired term of Karl Littman, and was re-elected in November 2022.

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