East Lansing’s City Council has selected five finalists to interview for the vacant council seat. The plan now is to interview those five starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, and to pick a winner.
At Tuesday night’s meeting (Jan. 10), Mayor Pro Tem Jessy Gregg was the first to state her picks for finalists, naming Abigail Tykocki, Daniel Bollman and Noel Garcia Jr.
Mayor Ron Bacon said his picks were the same.
Councilmember Dana Watson also named Bollman and Garcia, but named as two additional picks Mikey Manuel and Nichole Biber.
Councilmember George Brookover said he was fine interviewing all five of those candidates. The rest of Council agreed that was a reasonable approach.
Members settled on the plan to conduct a half-hour interview with each candidate, allowing each to make about three minutes of opening remarks and then asking each candidate the same questions.
It is anticipated Council will cast ballots to decide the winner immediately after the interviews are concluded.
The special meeting will start at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Hannah Community Center. The meeting will be open to the public and, according to state law, will include a period for public comment.
ELi previously reported 16 people applied for the vacancy created by Lisa Babcock’s election to serve as a judge for 54B District Court. Two were deemed ineligible by virtue of not living within the city’s borders.
Using the Freedom of Information Act, ELi obtained the applications, allowing the public to see the eligible candidates’ applications before Council made the decision about the finalists.
Here is information from the five finalists’ applications (not independently verified by ELi) along with links to PDFs of the applications, presented in alphabetical order by last name.
Nichole Biber states she is a library paraprofessional at Robert L. Green Elementary School. She has a Ph.D. in English from Michigan State University and indicates she has volunteered with numerous groups focused on parks, conservation, environmental concerns and Native American life. She frequently speaks at City Council during the public comment period and recently led the movement to rename Abbot Park to Azaadiwag Park.
Here is Biber’s statement from her application about why she is applying to serve on East Lansing’s City Council:
Daniel Bollman states he is a principal with East Arbor Architecture. His background is in architecture and urban planning, having served for several years as the chair of the East Lansing Planning Commission. He has also served on the Michigan State Historic Preservation Review Board and the East Lansing Historic District Commission, among other roles. He ran for a four-year Council seat in 2021 but lost to Dana Watson and George Brookover. His volunteer service also includes work for East Lansing Public Schools, including related to the bond for rebuilding of the elementary schools.
Here is Bollman’s statement from his application about why he is applying to serve on East Lansing’s City Council:
Noel Garcia Jr. states he is a Law Enforcement Instructor at the Wilson Talent Center in Mason. His background is in criminal justice and education and he retired from the Lansing Police Department as a lieutenant after 25 years of service. In 2018, he ran for East Lansing School Board and lost by a slim margin. He is currently an appointee to East Lansing’s Independent Police Oversight Commission and indicates he also volunteers in the public schools.
Here is Garcia’s statement from his application about why he is applying to serve on East Lansing’s City Council:
Mikey Manuel states he is the General Manager at Blondies Barn in Haslett, with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Central Michigan University. He ran for the two-year seat on the East Lansing City Council in 2021, losing to Ron Bacon, 83% to 17%. He graduated from the Emerging Leaders Program and has volunteered on the East Lansing Parks & Rec Advisory Committee and the Environmental Stewardship Program. He also lists himself as a “card carrying member” of the public library and Hannah Community Center.
Here is Manuel’s statement from his application about why he is applying to serve on East Lansing’s City Council:
Abigail Tykocki states she is a Production Manager for MSU’s Department of Theater and a Communications Specialist for MSU’s College of Arts & Letters. Her background is in theater management. She has been the president of the Pinecrest Neighborhood Association since 2019 and lists additional local volunteer work including on the recent public library millage campaign, the East Lansing Arts Commission and the Robert L. Green Elementary Community Council. She is a graduate of the Emerging Leaders Program.
Here is Tykocki’s statement from her application about why she is applying to serve on East Lansing’s City Council:
The appointee’s term will end after the council election set to occur in November of this year. In that election, three four-year East Lansing City Council seats will be up for grabs, including the appointee’s and the seats currently held by Mayor Ron Bacon and Mayor Pro Tem Jessy Gregg. (The council elects the mayor and mayor pro tem from among the five sitting members after each election.)
Sometime after the appointee is selected by Council, that person will be sworn into office by the City Clerk.
Update, Jan. 12: The agenda for Saturday’s meeting is now available.