The City of Dexter has a new council member, Scott Bell, who has been appointed to fill the vacancy left by long-standing member Ray Tell.
While national government gets most of the news, local and state government often has a much bigger impact, hitting us where we live so to say. With that in mind, Dexter City Council seats are significant representations of area residents.
So, who is this Scott Bell guy?
To fill the Council seat, a notice was sent out from the City via various outlets including We Love Dexter. Interested candidates were asked to submit a letter of intent explaining their desire to serve on the Council. The City received a total 13 letters of intent from outstanding and well-qualified Dexter residents. After interviewing the candidates with the difficult stipulation of only being able to choose one, Mayor Keough was ready to make his recommendation to the Council.
At the Nov. 12 meeting, Mayor Keough recommended Scott Bell to fill the vacancy. It was put up to a vote and Scott was unanimously voted in and sworn in by Dexter’s Assistant City Manager/Clerk, Justin Breyer.
I met up with Scott at Aubree’s recently to interview him for a “get-to-know-you” article.
Scott is not a new face to Dexter government. He has served a number of years on Dexter’s Zoning Board of Appeals and has become acquainted with Council members through his duties there. He is excited now for the chance to roll up his sleeves and dig into the issues at hand.
“The most exciting thing is the breadth of issues that Council deals with,” Scott said. “Planning Commission is focused on land development, land use, and compliance. City Council deals with all those issues as well as issues of running the city – financial, logistical matters, operational considerations and prioritization. It’s a larger scale, and I think that’s very exciting.”
People are drawn into local politics for different reasons. For Scott, it’s about service, an opportunity to help out. He sees a seat on City Council as a way of giving back to the great community that he and his family call home.
In his letter of intent to the City, Scott says, “My wife and I moved our family to Dexter in 2002 because we saw Dexter as the best choice for us to raise our children and give us the quality of life we were looking for. When I first joined the village of Dexter Planning commission in the early 2000s, it was because I wanted to do something for the community and set an example of public service for my kids.”
Scott views public service as a personal obligation not to be taken lightly. When the City looked to fill the vacancy, Scott thought about it for quite awhile before submitting his letter. What swayed him was the idea that, if chosen, this would be a new kind of opportunity for him to help Dexter in a different way.
With his background as an environmental engineer, Scott brings an analytical mind to the often labyrinthine issues and discussions of Council meetings. “I noticed while serving on the Planning Commission that I have an ability during discussion to steer the conversation back to the subject at hand where it fundamentally started,” he explains. “I know there are a lot of people that bring that as well. I think it comes with my background as an engineer. I am typically analytical.”
When asked what he expected as a council member, Scott explained that he expected a huge learning curve as he becomes acquainted with City issues and procedures. His immediate responsibility is to become acclimated. Sounds about right for an analytical mind.
As an example, when I asked Scott what he thought about a new firehouse. True to form he answered, “I’m aware of the different opinion other council members have about it. I honestly don’t have an opinion right now. There’s a ton of information available that I haven’t received yet about the issue, so I need to do my homework and then I’ll form an opinion.”
We finished up our meeting with Scott wanting people to know, “The main thing is that I really take it seriously as a representative of the citizens. We have a representative form of government, and I don’t do this for me, I do it for other constituents. Ultimately that’s what people are going to see.”
Someone with a penchant for processing volumes of detailed information filtered with community and personal values, who shoulders a profound responsibility for the residents he represents … Yes! Good choice!
All the best Scott! We’re pulling for you!