City Council forgets to invite newest member to Memorial Day event

May 30, 2007 by  
Filed under News

(May 30, 2007) Imagine walking down to Depot Town on a beautiful Memorial Day morning to watch the procession from Downtown Ypsilanti to Highland Cemetery. You are waiving to marchers when suddenly you see your fellow City Council members marching by waiving back.

That is exactly what happened to City Councilman Brian Robb (Dem, Ward 3) from Ypsilanti’s east side. Robb is the newest member on City Council, having been elected last November.

While parades and processions are staples of American politics, apparently the Mayor and other members of City Council forgot to tell the newly elected Robb that the City Council always marched in the Memorial Day procession nor did they even tell Robb where to meet.

Brian Robb, (Dem, Ward 3) Ypsilanti City Council

Robb was seen standing on the sidewalk in front of City Body in Depot Town as the rest of the City Council and Mayor marched by. Five of the seven Council members marched in the Memorial Day procession on Monday. Lois Richardson (Dem, Ward 3) did not march as she is recovering from surgery.

John Gawlas, (Dem, Ward 2) was heard saying after the event that Council had marched in the Memorial Day procession for 12 years. However, unlike Gawlas, Robb hasn’t been on council for 12 years. Robb has been on Council for six months. Robb was contacted for this story but was unavailable for comment.

The route for the Memorial Day procession runs right through the heart of Ward 3, Robb’s district. While the procession starts in Ward 1 on South Huron. The majority of the route goes through Ward 3, proceeding up North Huron, then through Depot Town, and ending at Highland Cemetery on North River.

The City Council has been meeting almost weekly for the past month for budget and regular Council sessions. During all of those some 15 hours of meetings, there was never a mention by any member of Council that they were marching in the Memorial Day procession.

At the May 22nd City Council meeting, Bill Nickels (Dem, Ward 2) announced that he was looking for a convertible to use in the 4th of July parade for City Council members. Nickels said the car used in past parades was no longer available. Nickels said that he had arranged for a Ford Model T for the Heritage Festival Parade in August. Nickels said nothing about the Memorial day event nor did Nickels say he had a car for the Council to use during Memorial Day.

YpsiNews called Mayor Paul Schreiber (Dem) to ask how and when he learned about marching in the procession. Schreiber, like Robb, was elected to his first term in November.

Schreiber said there wasn’t any communication amongst council members about the event, he just knew to show up. He said that he had been going to the Memorial Day procession for years and it is one of his favorite events. He said he finds the tossing of the flowers into the Huron River to be a very touching and moving part of the ceremony.

Schreiber said he felt bad that Robb didn’t know they were marching. The city had even made up new magnetic signs for both Schreiber and Robb, however they went unused as they were locked in the City Clerk’s office. The Mayor said he was shocked to see Robb standing along the route in Depot Town. When the Mayor saw Robb, he invited him to join the group but Robb declined.

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