A plan to rename four streets in Romulus to honor local residents met with a detour when a family member questioned the logistics of the plan.
During the regular meeting of the councilmembers June 7, Linda Coleman explained that her family was honored and thrilled to learn that her 93-year-old mother, Ella Coleman, was to be honored with a street dedication. She explained that while the family was grateful for the recognition for her mother, a 60-year resident of the city, the June 11 date set for the ceremony was disappointing. She explained that the scheduling which provided the family only a one-week notice of the ceremony, and limited the renaming event to 30 minutes “doesn't feel like an honor.”
She explained that her family could not plan and schedule to attend the honor for her mother on such short notice and that many family members needed to plan ahead and make arrangements to attend. She was also critical of the amount of time allotted for the honor, noting that five ceremonies had been set for the same day at 30-minute increments.
“That seems like a lack of concern and very little consideration for the family to prepare for the event,” she said. “I feel like it doesn't really matter to you but it does to our family.”
She said that previous street renaming honors had been done singly, not slotted in a half-hour periods and asked the council members to postpone the street renaming ceremony for her mother until a July or August date could be selected with input from the family.
Members of the council were unanimous in their concern for Coleman's request, noting that they, too, wanted to attend all of the scheduled renaming events but would have difficulty in doing so in the 30-minute intervals allotted with the current schedule proposed.
Council members Virginia Williams and Tina Talley agreed with Coleman and suggested revisiting the planned scheduling of the ceremonies.
Councilwoman Kathy Abdo was also critical of the plan.
“I was surprised when I saw the schedule,” she said. “I think we need to call and ask the families if they want to reschedule,” she said.
Mayor Pro tem John Barden agreed.
“People need time to gather their families,” he said.
Councilwoman Celeste Roscoe agreed the one-week notice was too short. “I apologize for the way this has happened. My colleagues and I mean no disrespect. I totally agree that families need time and some members may have to travel even from out of state. This is a very great honor and families need time to plan to attend,” she said.
Councilman Bill Wadsworth suggested the mayor's office contact the families to be honored and ask if they might want to reschedule if they need more time.
“We meant no disrespect,” he said, “We are trying to show respect to these residents.”
City Clerk Ellen Craig-Bragg reminded members of the council that the scheduling for the honors was in compliance with the resolution they unanimously approved by a vote earlier this year. That resolution, she said, required that all street renamings be complete by the end of June and that every effort be made to install all signs the same day. Signs cannot be installed on weekends due to staffing, she reminded them, and that the policy had been adopted by the entire council.
Councilwoman Eva Webb said that regardless of what was voted on, the procedure needed to change to give families adequate time to plan.
“Whatever the council needs to do, we need to correct this,” she said. “We dropped the ball. The right thing to do is make sure families can celebrate with their loved ones. This is truly an honor,” she said.
Talley agreed. “I don't care what we voted on, we need to fix it.”
Mayor LeRoy Burcroff said that his office would follow Wadsworth's suggestion and contact the affected families to make acceptable scheduling arrangements.
Council members also unanimously agreed to make a scheduling exception for Ms. Coleman's family and to revisit the current policy to make adjustments.