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Royal Oak Committee Appointees 'A Little Bit Younger, More Gender Balanced'

Seven out of 15 new committee members are women.

Royal Oak appoints fresh faces to committees.
Royal Oak appoints fresh faces to committees.

The Royal Oak City Commission approved the recommendations of the Appointments Committee at City Hall Monday. 

Of the 15 new committee members appointed to vacancies, seven are women. 

“I am proud of the work we did on this committee," said Commissioner Jeremy Mahrle. "Unfortunately with all the applications we couldn’t appoint everybody who wanted to serve."

Mahrle said the committee attempted to make appointees "a little bit younger and a little more gender balanced" in the hopes of increasing citizen involvement.

Mayor Jim Ellison supported the recommendations saying the committees have historically been "very heavy" with men over age 50.

 “If we’re going to start diversifying and we’ve got opportunities for new people to get involved, which is what we are always encouraging,  I think there is justification in putting (new) people on these boards," Ellison said.

The commission approved the following vacancies:

  • Dennis Andrzejak, Animal Shelter Committee
  • Matthew Wood, Animal Shelter Committee 
  • Frank Quinn, Civil Service Board 
  • Theresa Nielsen, Crime Prevention 
  • W. Michael Byrne, Farmer’s Market Committee 
  • Marc Sackin, Memorial Day Parade 
  • Amanda Klein, Parks and Recreation 
  • Phil Smith, Parks and Recreation 
  • Sarah Bomberski, ROOTS 
  • Blaine Tillander, Royal Oak Environmental Advisory Committee 
  • Amanda Morris, Traffic Committee 
  • Timothy Makar, Zoning Board of Appeals 
  • Anthony Offak, Zoning Board of Appeals 
  • Sarah Thomas, Zoning Board of Appeals – 1st Alternate 
  • Kortney Glassford, Zoning Board of Appeals – 2nd Alternate 
The Duke of Royal Oak January 28, 2014 at 09:28 AM
What matters is that the PERSON is the best qualified and not the age or gender.
Debbie Campbell January 28, 2014 at 11:25 AM
I watched the City Commission meeting on TV last night and found Mayor Ellison and Commissioner Mahrle’s remarks to be disturbing-- That the age of an applicant was a determining factor as to whether or not they were kicked off/appointed to serve is clearly ageism--Isn’t this a violation of the city’s newly adopted Human Rights Ordinance regarding discrimination based on an individual’s age??? -- Further in the discussion regarding gender—Were “younger” female applicants with fewer qualifying credentials/experience chosen over more qualified male applicants?—If the composition of a board’s membership is heavily male—I can then (perhaps) see appointing a female to the position instead of a male if the female has equal qualifications/experience— I say “perhaps” though because to me gender is irrelevant-- I fail to see what an individual’s gender or age has to do with their ability to make responsible decisions on any of these boards—
Laura Harrison January 28, 2014 at 12:36 PM
I wish I could remember the name of the movie where all the residents of a city in the future were all born with a button in the palm of their hand and when the button changed color they were sent to a place and were never seen again. They were 40ish when they disappeared. All I can remember is that Farrah Fauchett was in the movie. That movie was disturbing and so was what I watched last night.
Ray January 28, 2014 at 01:18 PM
Wow, they kicked off a good ZBA person because of age and appointed under-qualified friends of some of the commissioners. Disturbing is right.
Greg Elledge January 28, 2014 at 01:20 PM
Laura, was the movie Logan's Run?
Laura Harrison January 28, 2014 at 01:22 PM
Thank you, Greg.
Debbie Campbell January 28, 2014 at 01:39 PM
Given the obvious bias--the Appointment’s Committee review of applications should have been a “blind” review --So that the race, age and gender of the applicant is unknown –All the committee needs is a list of an individual’s experience, credentials and qualifications—And yes—isn’t one of the new appointee’s the brother in law of one of the Commissioners???
Debbie Campbell January 29, 2014 at 11:45 AM
Wikipedia—Ageism definition: Prejudice or discrimination against a particular age-group and especially the elderly. ---There are several forms of age-related bias--Jeunism is the discrimination against older people in favor of younger ones. This includes political candidacies, jobs, and cultural settings where the supposed greater vitality and/or physical beauty of youth is more appreciated than the supposed greater moral and/or intellectual rigor of adulthood.--- ---From AOL Jobs--Signs that you might be a victim of age discrimination: *Who was laid off and who wasn't? If older people were the primary targets, start writing down their names, along with the names of younger, less-qualified employees who were kept on. **If you're more qualified than a younger employee, but you're not chosen for a promotion that you applied for, it may well be due to your age. ***If you are turned down for a position that you apply for and see it given to a less-qualified younger employee, it may be a sign that the company is discriminating due to age.
Ray January 31, 2014 at 09:01 PM
Just watched a replay of the meeting where Jeremy Marle had the nerve to discuss how they deliberately appointed residents under age 50, even went so far as to point out someone in the audience who was "over 50"and on a committee. So creepy. Your definition of ageism above fits exactly what took place, Debbie.
Joey K. February 01, 2014 at 06:49 AM
Right!? Who wants young people and women on a committee like Parks and Rec? Despicable!
Debbie Campbell February 01, 2014 at 08:58 AM
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from discrimination based on age. --Language in RO’s Human Rights Ordinance prohibits age discrimination—Mayor Ellison and Commissioner Mahrle--Both huge outspoken advocates of our Human Rights Ordinance at election time now openly –ON CAMERA –televised City-wide demean and discriminate against folks over 50..Such BLATANT hypocrisy—Pandering to the senior vote –then showing their true prejudice—Shameful--
Joey K. February 01, 2014 at 09:44 AM
Debbie, you're clearly crazy at worst or have a bias against Mahrle and Ellison at best. If you think that was demeaning towards seniors, then you were watching a different meeting. A number of seniors, probably a large majority, were appointed. The only difference was this time they also appointed some women and young people. What do you have against women and younger people?
Debbie Campbell February 01, 2014 at 10:28 AM
JK--I'm not going to dignify your comments/question with a response--watch the video of the meeting and make an effort to see and hear--
The Duke of Royal Oak February 01, 2014 at 10:49 AM
Debbie you are right on. The fact that Mr. K whom served as an alternate was not elevated to a permanent position says it all!
Geof Vasquez February 01, 2014 at 05:30 PM
The Royal Oak Human Rights Ordinance defines ‘discriminate’ as “ to make a decision, offer to make a decision, or refrain from making a decision, based in whole or in part on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, height, weight, condition of pregnancy, marital status, physical or mental limitation, source of income, family responsibilities, sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status of another person, that person’s relatives, or that person’s associates”. Isn’t that what Commissioner Mahrle & Mayor Ellison are saying just occurred?
royaloakforum.com February 01, 2014 at 05:42 PM
The committee appointments are discussed on the Royal Oak Forum, topic titled "growing old in Royal Oak". http://royaloakforum.com
Ray February 02, 2014 at 06:49 PM
That is my interpretation of what went down. Really sleazy. It seems like they're on a mission to remove anyone they don't like, who might be a little older and wiser, so they can all walk in lock step together into oblivion.
Ed Callahan February 06, 2014 at 06:27 AM
Let’s face it, having the right qualifications are no longer applicable when serving in Royal Oak City government. Our current Mayor and City council by their own actions have demonstrated their political philosophies and like all true liberals are hypocrites. They support an ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on age, but then violate the same ordinance when it counters their agenda. I was against the ordinance because I and a lot of other people could foresee the possibility for litigation, which could possibly ensue. If anything those individuals that feel they were discriminated against based on age should file a federal complaint against the city.
Geof Vasquez February 06, 2014 at 08:58 AM
Royal Oak's established criteria for committee appointments are Attendance at meetings; Length of service; Special expertise required by the board or commission, which can either come from outside experience in the field (i.e., planning) or from experience actually serving on the board or commission (i.e., zoning); Recommendations from other members of the board or commission and/or City Commissioners; The opportunity for allowing new people to serve on a board or commission. It does not state that age, gender or race can be used as a selection criteria. I guess Mayor Ellison and Commissioner Marhle believe laws apply to other people but themselves.

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