Thursday, October 15, 2020

Local mayor elected to lead Michigan Municipal League

William R. Wild
Westland Mayor William R. Wild has been named as the 2020-21 president of the Michigan Municipal League.

Wild was selected to the office by the 18-member Michigan Municipal League (MML) Board of Trustees during the virtual convention of the organization which took place last month.  Board members also named Pontiac Mayor Dr. Deirdre Waterman as vice president. 

“It's very exciting to be the League's president, and it's something I'm very proud of,” Wild said. “To say the least, it's an exciting, yet challenging time for local governments. We're trying to redefine our communities to remain relevant, while also tackling some of the biggest challenges we've ever faced.”

Wild succeeds Saginaw Mayor Pro Tem Brenda F. Moore as president, whose historic term as the first African-American female president of the organization ended this week.

Selected to the League Board in September of 2017, Wild had served as vice president since January and, along with Moore, helped guide the organization as it addressed the coronavirus pandemic and racial inequities brought to the national spotlight following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, according to League directors.

“Mayor Pro Tem Moore and Mayor Wild have done an amazing job leading our organization and our member communities over the past several months, which have been very challenging to put it mildly,” said League CEO and Executive Director Dan Gilmartin. “I have the utmost confidence that Mayor Wild will continue the strong and thoughtful leadership that he demonstrated as vice president. Mayor Wild brings a wealth of municipal experience that I know will serve our organization well in the next year.”

Wild has extensive experience in municipal leadership and is the longest serving mayor in the history of Westland. He is active in the League since attending his first MML Convention in 2000, participating in the League Elected Officials Academy, and serving on various legislative and municipal finance committees. Prior to becoming mayor of Westland in 2007, Wild served on the Westland Planning Commission from 1999 to 2001 and was elected to the city council from 2001 to 2007, serving as council president from 2006-2007. He also is former U.S House of Representatives candidate for MI-13th in 2018. 

His involvement extends beyond the League as he's also active with the United States Conference of Mayors, Conference of Western Wayne (CWW), Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG), and the Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority (MMRMA). Under his leadership as mayor, Westland has successfully attracted more than $200 million in new investment to the Westland business district and recently, the city was recognized as one of America's top 50 places to live, work, and play by Wall Street 24/7, according to a prepared statement from the League.

As League president, Wild plans to continue the efforts of the organization to reform the broken municipal finance system in the state will continue assisting member communities in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and hopes to continue infusing diversity, equity, and inclusion work into all aspects of the organization and membership, he said.

“I want to continue the work of the League and the direction the board has set over the last few years,” Wild said. “Obviously, we will be working to restart our communities and our local economies post COVID-19. And I'd like to see Michigan's communities continue to take leadership roles on the civil unrest we're experiencing nationally.”

In addition, Wild hopes to make the importance of local communities a platform issue leading up to the next governor's race in 2022.

“The League has done an incredible job with its SaveMICity municipal finance reform initiative, showing how the loss of state revenue sharing has hurt our communities,” Wild said. “But I would like us to turn that into a priority in the race for governor, and eventually I hope to see that trickle down and also become a platform issue in state Legislature races as well.”

He said the trick will be balancing all the different challenges and needs being faced by Michigan communities. 

“We have to remain focused on those goals we had before the pandemic because our broken municipal finance system has not gone away,” Wild said. “We need to make progress on all fronts. We really have our work cut out for us this year, but it's an exciting time, and together, I know we will accomplish a lot.”