by DREW HOWARD
Following what Mayor Barnett described as the “closest election of our city’s history,” four new and returning Rochester Hills City Council members were officially inducted into their roles during the Oath of Office Ceremony on Thursday, November 16.
The ceremony saw the return of Vice President Stephanie Morita and Council Member James Kubicina, both of whom ran unopposed campaigns. Morita will serve a four-year term while Kubicina will serve a partial-term ending in November, 2019.
Morita and Kubicina took the oath of office alongside new faces Jenny McCardell and Ryan Deel. McCardell and Deel will serve four-year terms on the at-large and fourth district city council seats, respectively.
City Council President Mark Tisdel opened the ceremony with words of advice to the council members, encouraging each of them to stay true to their values in the face of opposing opinions.
“We all likely would like to be reelected, and it is therefore quite tempting to think or say anything that will help us be liked,” Tisdel said. “Tonight, you will each raise your right hand to solemnly swear to support and defend, to follow a set of rules, to help us reach compromises in a way everybody considers legitimate. This is the oath you’ll be taking, that is the job, a job where disappointment is normal.”
Each new and returning member was asked to give a speech following the oath, starting first with McCardell. McCardell replaces incumbent Kevin Brown after narrowly defeating him with 50.14 percent of the vote.
“I am so very excited to work with these talented and dedicated public servants,” McCardell said. “I admire each of the current councilors and look forward to joining you as a colleague. Rochester Hills is the best city in the world because of the people who live here, and I look forward to serving the people of Rochester Hills while on city council.”
Vice President Morita took the stand following McCardell, saying she’s excited to expand on the four years of previous work.
“While I have learned and done a tremendous amount over the past four years, I know there is still more work ahead,” Morita said. “But I also know that if we are respectful, keep our word and serve the better good, we will get things done.”
In addition to thanking his wife, friends and family members who supported his campaign, Deel name-dropped two specific volunteers who helped push him over the edge.
“I’d also like to thank my twin sons Jack and Brennan for all their work knocking on doors,” Deel joked. “It was the best tagline leaving the door ever. They would both say in unison, ‘thanks for voting for my dad!’, and I think I won people over with that.”
Deel and McCardell were both welcomed to the council in Kubicina’s speech, where he said he has “high hopes” for the new members.
“I want to congratulate our two newest members, Ryan Deel and Jenny McCardell,” Kubicina said. “You have some big shoes to fill with Kevin Brown and Tom Wiggins – they were two all-star councilmen. They will be missed, but I have hopes for the both of you.”
You can see Deel and McCardell in action during their first Rochester Hills City Council meeting on Monday, December 4. City council meetings can be watched live on the YouTube channel “Council Meetings – City of Rochester Hills.”