It may have been Mayor Pro Tem Kate Baker's last council meeting of her term on Monday night, but it probably won't be the last you see of this longtime Ferndale resident.
Baker, who has served as council member since 2008 and mayor pro tem since 2010, this year so that she could focus on her career. But she said on Monday night that she would continue to stay involved in the city.
"I'm not going anywhere, I'll still be here," she said.
Baker's community involvement includes the , the , the Ferndale Area Democratic Club and the city's planning commission.
Baker thanked local residents and city staff as well as her family and friends for their support.
"It has been a huge privilege that you have placed your trust in me," she said during the meeting.
Council members gifted Baker with flowers and expressed their thanks to her at the end of the meeting and many city staff members and residents also came forward to thank Baker for her service.
A "capable and hardworking leader"
Ferndale Mayor Dave Coulter pointed out that Baker was the youngest person ever elected to the Ferndale City Council.
"I think it's a testament to your hard work and your maturity that four years later I don't think people think of you as just the young person on council," he said. "Everybody recognizes you as a thoughtful, mature and steady leader of our community."
He said he understands if Baker turns down some of the offers she will likely receive to serve on various city boards - but said he hopes she takes those offers as a compliment because she is sought-out as a "capable and hardworking leader."
Council member Melanie Piana said she believes Baker has paved the way for other women to get involved in city leadership.
"I think you've been a very good leader for women, showing there are opportunities for women in leadership in their community," she said. "I think you plowed that path for them. You're going to see your legacy grow from that."
Piana said she has appreciated Baker's ability to "find new ways to solve problems."
"I think that has been a very refreshing aspect of working with you," she said. "You're going to be sorely missed up here."
Council members T. Scott Galloway and Mike Lennon also expressed their gratitude to Baker.
"I've learned from you and I'm twice your age," Lennon said. "You'll be sorely missed and I wish you well."
, said Baker has served as a great example.
"You've met and exceeded everyone's expectations and beyond," he said. "It's a real honor to come in behind you."
Ferndale Chief of Police Tim Collins spoke at the meeting saying Baker will be missed.
"We will miss you very much over at the police department," he said. "We appreciate all the support that we had in very trying times."
Baker to focus on Midtown Detroit
Former council candidate Sherry Wells said she looks forward to seeing more from Baker in the future.
"What I have enjoyed most is that your urban planning is not just a degree but it's something you once said you even get geeked about," she said.
Baker hit the gavel for the mayor to close out her last meeting. "Thank you for all of your collective wisdom," she said.
For now, in addition to her other roles in the Ferndale community, Baker said she plans to focus her attention on Midtown Detroit - "putting that wacky urban planning degree to good use," she said, laughing.