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Published: Wednesday, 3/16/2005

Civic activist joins Adrian commission

ADRIAN - The Adrian City Commission's newest member says his background as a civic leader will be useful in helping the panel confront a number of challenges it faces.

And the city administrator appears to have another adversary on the commission.

"I'm very honored I was selected," Greg DuMars said. "Obviously, there will be a learning curve there to get up and running and to be effective. I look forward to the challenge."

Mr. DuMars, 57, was employed for 33 years at Delphi Automotive in Adrian, spending much of his time in the human resources department.

He has served on the local United Way, Goodwill of America, American Cancer Society, Boy Scouts of America, and YMCA boards. He also is a former Adrian Public Schools board member.

Mr. DuMars said he first became interested in the commission after serving on a committee that helped the city win an annexation battle with Adrian Township. That experience taught him the importance of cities fostering good relationships with neighboring townships, something he will strive for as a commission member, he said.

"It's a key challenge," he said.

Mayor Sam Rye said he was pleased with the commission's decision.

"He'll bring a lot to the table," he said. "He has a lot of knowledge about the community and has served on a number of different boards. He's well-liked, and he'll work great with the other commissioners."

Mr. DuMars replaces Eric Sullivan, who resigned in January for unspecified reasons. He was one of 13 people who applied for Mr. Sullivan's seat. The group was narrowed to four, including Jim Awad, Jeffrey DiCenzo, Julie Field, and Mr. DuMars.

Final interviews were held on Saturday followed by a poll of the five commissioners and Mayor Rye. Mr. DuMars won five of the votes, while Mr. Awad received the other vote from Commissioner Mike Clegg.

Mr. DuMars will join a board that is divided in its support of city Administrator George Brown and that has been at odds with the city's police department.

In the past six months, the police chief resigned under fire and an officer was reprimanded. Mr. Brown survived a no-confidence vote by the commission after he admitted backdating a memorandum related to the problems confronting the chief, Mike Martin. Two board members voted for Mr. Brown's ouster.

Mr. DuMars said that had he been a member of the commission at the time, he, too, would have voted against Mr. Brown. "[But] I certainly accept the commission's vote. I have no hidden agenda to get rid of him," he said.

Mr. DuMars will have to run in the August primary. He said he expects a hotly contested campaign in which the top eight vote-getters will appear on the November ballot. Of that group, the top four will earn commission seats: the first three voter-getters will earn four-year terms while the fourth-place finisher will complete Mr. Sullivan's term of two years.

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