Niemi named new Marquette mayor

MARQUETTE – Mayor Pro Tem Robert Niemi was elected mayor of the city of Marquette by his fellow commissioners Tuesday.

“I’m both honored and humbled,” Niemi said. “I will do my very best. We have a lot of challenges coming up.”

Niemi was elected to the Marquette City Commission in November 2008. Born and raised in Hancock, he has lived in Marquette since 1973. In 1976, he became full-time administrator of the Marquette Transit Authority, and upon consolidation into the Marquette County Transit Authority in 1985, was appointed executive director, retiring in 2006.

Niemi is part-time executive director of the Michigan Transit Pool, a self-insurance pool of transit systems through the state.

Frederick Stonehouse was elected mayor pro tem Tuesday. He was elected to the commission in 2008 and re-elected in 2011. Stonehouse has authored many books as a maritime historian and has taught Great Lakes maritime history at Northern Michigan University.

The mayor and mayor pro tem are elected annually by the commission.

Sworn in Tuesday as new commissioners were Sarah Reynolds and Dave Campana, who were elected in the Nov. 5 non-partisan race.

“We’ve got some serious business, and I want to thank them for stepping up,” Commissioner Sara Cambensy said.

Commissioners are elected for three-year terms.

Outgoing Commissioner Jason Schneider, who had served three years, told the commission he will continue to take an interest in city affairs.

“You will probably all find personal phone calls from me when I find an issue that’s really important,” Schneider said.

Outgoing Mayor John DePetro, who had been on the commission for eight years, said, “I really like to listen to what people have to say. I enjoy very much hearing their opinions and concerns.”

The commission also approved its 2014 meeting schedule. Dates are: Jan. 13 and 27, Feb. 10 and 24, March 10 and 31, April 14 and 28, May 12 and 27, June 9 and 30, July 14 and 28, Aug. 11 and 25, Sept. 8 and 29, Oct. 14 and 27, Nov. 10 and 24 and Dec. 8 and 15.

Meetings typically are held at 7 p.m. in the commission chambers at city hall, 300 W. Baraga Ave., on the second and last Mondays of each month. Next year, the May 27 and Oct. 14 meetings will be held on Tuesdays due to legal holidays.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.