Dowagiac Councilman Randy Gross appointed mayor pro-tempore

Published 9:55 am Tuesday, November 9, 2021

DOWAGIAC – For the first time in years, the city of Dowagiac will have a new leader in the event of the mayor’s absence.

Randy Gross, council member representing the city’s third ward, was appointed mayor pro-tempore at Monday’s city council meeting. Mayor Don Lyons made the appointment, which was approved by council vote. He replaces Leon Laylin, who decided not to run for council again after 24 years as a member.

Gross is serving in his second stint as council member. His first was from 2012 to 2014, when he moved from the first ward to the third ward and resigned. His second term began after Charles Burling resigned in 2019.

“When considering mayor pro tem, I think it’s important that the individual has demonstrated a commitment to the community, had some length of service, and has deep roots in the community. … When he resigned, it as with the caveat that if there was ever an opportunity, he would like to come back. When the opportunity presented itself, he came back and continued to serve, so, I think that represents the kind of commitment to the community. Commitment to the process is really critical that we’re going to be successful to continue to move forward.”

Gross was born and raised in Dowagiac, graduated from DUHS and is the longtime technology director for Dowagiac Union Schools. He has volunteered for various youth programs, including Dowagiac Little League and Dowagiac Youth Basketball League, as well as served on various boards in the area.

“I’m honored that I was asked to serve in this capacity,” Gross said. “I hope I can do as well as my predecessor Leon. I’m going to miss Leon a lot. I’ll just give it my all – my goal is just to make Dowagiac a better place to live for everybody.”

In other business:

  • Council members Patrick Bakeman, ward one, and Bob Schuur, ward two, were sworn in after winning uncontested elections.
  • New council member James Kurdelmeyer was sworn in after winning an uncontested election of the ward three seat vacated by Laylin.
  • Mayor Don Lyons was sworn in after winning an uncontested election.
  • Latoi Wilson was sworn in as treasurer after winning an uncontested election.
  • Council approved a resolution authorizing a grant application for the Neighborhood Enhancement Program, which the city has been awarded in the past.
  • Council approved a resolution authorizing fire protection coverage in part of Pokagon Township.