Six of ten will advance in Trenton Council primary

Sunday Times Newspapers

TRENTON — Candidates familiar and otherwise have tossed their hats into the primary ring in search of one of three city council seats. Each are four-year terms.

Voters will be asked on Aug. 6 to select six of the 10 candidates on the ballot for consideration in the November general election.

At least one newcomer will join council in one of the most active ballots in recent memory. The expiring seats are currently held by Terrence Teifer, Tim Taylor and Timber R. Baun-Crooks; both Teifer and Taylor opted against seeking re-election, and Baun-Crooks will be the lone incumbent along with nine challengers, some making their first foray into elected campaigns.

The candidates as they appear on the August ballot are:

Bob Baker, 47, a member of the Trenton Civic Commission who has served on the Trenton Summer Festival committee. Baker is a graduate of Trenton High School and currently employed by the city of Woodhaven. Baker previously ran for council in 2009.

Timber R. Baun-Crooks, 54, has served on city council for more than two decades, with two terms from 1991 to 1999 and re-elected in 2001. Baun-Crooks, a lifelong city resident, graduated from Trenton High School in 1976 and is the owner of Timber’s Salon. On council Baun-Crooks has represented the city as delegate to the Michigan Municipal League, and is a member of the Trenton Business Association.

W. Dan Gillespie, 58, served two terms beginning in 2001 and lost a 2011 re-election bid — by 16 votes — to newcomer Robert Howey. Gillespie is owner of Certified Alarm, and before being elected to council had served as chair of the planning commission, on which he served for 12 years.

Bob Keller, 51, has worked for AT&T for nearly 30 years, lived in Trenton for 25 and has three children who graduated from the district.

Tom Kinney, 39, currently serves on the Trenton Public Schools board of education, which he joined in 2010. Kinney works for NSS Technologies, and has two children attending Trenton High School.

Terry Kuharsky, 61, is a lifelong Trenton resident and 27-year veteran of McLouth Steel. Kuharsky works at Wayne County Airport Authority, has served as a union steward, and — as with two children — is a Trenton High School graduate.

Pamela O’Bryan, 59, works at Oakwood Hospital and is a newcomer to politics. O’Bryan moved to Trenton in 1990, attracted by the school district, and was a business owner for more than 10 years. O’Bryan completed the Wayne State Labor program through continuing education and has sat on a union board.

Nelson Perugi, 52, serves on the planning commission and works for Henry Ford Health System in a leadership role. A 25-year resident of Trenton, Perugi has children in Trenton Public Schools and coaches hockey, softball and soccer. Perugi says he would like to expand his planning commission service to help revitalize the downtown area.

Steven Rzeppa, 20, is a graduate of Trenton High School studying public policy at the University of Michigan and served an internship at the office of U.S. Rep. John Dingell. Rzeppa said his youth can provide “a new pespective” to council proceedings.

Eric Vargo, 36, has worked for Pepsi for 18 years and has three (of four) children enrolled in Trenton schools. A relatively recent resident, Vargo said he hopes to help keep the city “a jewel of the Downriver communities,” with an emphasis on public safety.

(James Mitchell can be reached at