Michigan Municipal League Board Elects Three New Members; Re-Elects Three

Press Release


Matt Bach
Director of Communications
Michigan Municipal League
(734) 669-6317; C: (810) 874-1073
[email protected];


Michigan Municipal League Board Elects Three New Members; Re-Elects Three

Officials from Detroit, Holland, L’Anse, Mason, Monroe, MuskegonSelected to Statewide Association

ANN ARBOR, Michigan – Six officials from throughout the state were recently elected and re-elected to the Michigan Municipal League Board of Trustees.

During the League’s annual meeting on Sept. 29 at its 2020 virtual Convention, the following were selected as new Board members: Detroit City Councilmember Andrè L. Spivey, Mason City Manager Deborah Stuart, and Monroe Mayor Robert Clark. Also, three members were re-elected to the Board. They are Muskegon Mayor Stephen Gawron, L’Anse Village Manager Robert La Fave, and Holland City Manager Keith Van Beek. All six were appointed to three-year terms.

In addition, the Board selected its officers for 2020-21 and named Westland Mayor William Wild as Board president and Pontiac Mayor Dr. Deirdre Waterman as vice president. As vice president, Waterman is in line to become League president for the 2021-22 term.
Details of the newly elected Board members:

  • Robert Clark has served as mayor of the City of Monroe since 2010, and previously as a councilmember. He serves on the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, Downtown Development Authority, and Monroe City Employee Pension and Post-Retirement Health Care board of trustees. Active within the community, he serves on the Monroe County Business Development Corporation, River Raisin National Battlefield Foundation board, and the River Raisin Watershed Council. Prior to elected office, Clark served on the City of Monroe Citizens Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals. He is a member delegate of SEMCOG, serving on the Budget and Finance Committee and past SEMCOG chairperson. He is on his third term as a member of the MML Liability and Property Pool board of directors, and current chairperson. Clark is a graduate of William Penn College, Iowa, and earned BA degrees in sociology and psychology. He completed 30 years of service with the Michigan State Police, retired at the rank of major, and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.
  • André L. Spivey has served on the Detroit City Council since 2009. He serves as co-chair of the Budget Finance and Audit Committee and the Neighborhood Services Committee and represents the city council on the Detroit Zoological Society Board of Directors. Spivey has served as the chair of the 2010 Census Taskforce, the M.O.O.V.E. Taskforce, and the co-chair of the Black Male Engagement Taskforce and the Immigration Taskforce. The Detroit native is an ordained Itinerant Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, a Master of Divinity Degree from Colgate Rochester Divinity School in Rochester, NY, and a Master of Science Degree in Administration from Central Michigan University. Spivey is currently pursuing a Juris Doctorate at Wayne State Law School in Detroit. He is involved in several community and civic organizations and is an active member of the Morehouse College Alumni Association-Detroit Chapter, Phi Mu Alpha Professional Music Fraternity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., UNCF, and the NAACP.
  • Deborah Stuart has served as the city manager for the City of Mason since 2016. She has over 17 years of local and state experience assisting community and economic development projects come to fruition. She recently served as the community development incentives director for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). In that role, she was responsible for various Michigan incentive programs, including the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG), Community Revitalization Program (CRP), Renaissance Zones, Smart Zones, and Brownfield Programs averaging over $100,000 million annually being awarded to Michigan communities. Stuart holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communication from Central Michigan University and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Western Michigan University. She proudly serves as a League Ambassador to both the 16/50 and SaveMICity Projects and is the current chair of the League’s Municipal Administration and Permitting Committee. Stuart was the 2018 recipient of the League’s Community Builder Award due to her work on both local and state initiatives related to Community Development.

Details of the re-elected Board members:

  • Keith Van Beek has extensive experience in public administration. Hewas selected as the city manager of the City of Holland in February 2018. He currently provides leadership and direction for the community of more than 33,500 residents through the efforts of nearly 275 employees. Previously, Van Beek served as the Deputy County Administrator for the County of Ottawa, where he directed the Community Action Agency, equalization, facilities, legislative coordination at the Federal and State level, and Veterans Affairs. He also served as city administrator for the City of Kentwood for 12 years. Van Beek has been highly involved in professional associations. He is a credentialed manager in the International City/County Management Association; past president and former board member of the Michigan Municipal Executives and the West Michigan Municipal Executives; and member of the Michigan Association of County Administrative Officials.
  • Stephen Gawron was elected as the 66th mayor of Muskegon and sworn into office in January 2014. He was first elected to the Muskegon City Commission in November 2001, appointed as vice mayor in 2005, then elected as mayor in 2013. Gawron has focused on the preservation of key services and city finances as well as the restoration of the core business district in Muskegon’s downtown. Programs such as community policing and social justice have been expanded and are recognized nationally. Regional collaborations are also a key focus. Gawron was able to bridge divides resulting in bringing two new municipalities into the city’s water system. Additional partnerships are being expanded to position Muskegon as a multi-modal transportation hub, taking advantage of the city’s one-of-a-kind deep-water port. He is also active with the Urban Core Mayors Association of Michigan.
  • Robert La Fave serves as the village manager for the Village of L’Anse. In his 11 years of service to the community, he has worked with multiple community stakeholders (Village Council, DDA, Chamber of Commerce, Baraga County EDC, Planning Commission, and citizen groups) to engage in placemaking and downtown revitalization efforts to improve the quality of life of local residents and to help make the community more attractive to visitors and business alike. La Fave has served on the Michigan Municipal Executives board, MSU Extension Statewide Board, is currently on the Baraga County EDC, and various other community boards. He holds a Master of Public Administration from Grand Valley State University, holds a Citizen Planner Certification from MSU Extension, and is currently a PhD. student in Michigan Technological University’s Environmental and Energy Policy Program.

The newly elected Trustees join Wild, Waterman, and the other volunteers who remain on the 2020-21 Board—Michael Cain, city manager of Boyne City; Brian Chapman, Sault Ste. Marie City Manager; Peter Dame, Grosse Pointe City Manager; Carla Filkins, Cadillac Mayor; Monica Galloway, Flint City Council President; Frances McMullan, Ypsilanti City Manager; Jean Stegeman, Menominee Mayor; Patrick Sullivan, Northville City Manager; Diane Brown Wilhelm, Midland City Councilmember; and Barbara Ziarko, Sterling Heights City Councilmember.

The League Board and League CEO/Executive Director Dan Gilmartin also thanked the outgoing Trustees for their years of service: League President and Saginaw Mayor Pro Tem Brenda F. Moore; Brenda Jones, Detroit City Council President; and Marlon Brown, Mason Mayor Pro Tem.

For additional information, contact Matt Bach, Michigan Municipal League communications director, at [email protected] and (810) 874-1073.

About the League: Michigan Municipal League is dedicated to making Michigan’s communities better by thoughtfully innovating programs, energetically connecting ideas and people, actively serving members with resources and services, and passionately inspiring positive change for Michigan’s greatest centers of potential: its communities. The League advocates on behalf of its member communities in Lansing, Washington, D.C., and the courts; provides educational opportunities for elected and appointed municipal officials; and assists municipal leaders in administering services to their communities through League programs and services. Learn more at


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