Sareini, Hubbard say goodbye to council

Photo by Bob Oliver
Councilwomen Nancy Hubbard (left) and Suzanne Sareini pose together following the Dec. 17 city council meeting, their last as council members. They have been members of the council since 1990 and both announced that they would not seek re-election earlier in the year, Sareini in February and Hubbard in May.

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN – It was a time for reflection and for a passing of the torch.

During the Dec.17 city council meeting, outgoing members Nancy Hubbard and Suzanne Sareini, both of whom have sat on the council since 1990, said their goodbyes to the council and their constituents after 24 years.

“It’s been a privilege serving the city,” Sareini said. “Thank you all for having me all these years.”

She also addressed her fellow city employees and the other council members.

“I want to thank everybody for all of their commitment to the city,” Sareini said. “It’s been an honor and a privilege working with all of you and I’ll miss you all. I have many, many good memories from being here”

Sareini also welcomed the new council members.

“Good luck to the new council because I’m sure there are many difficult votes and challenges ahead, but I have full confidence in you,” Sareini said.

Sareini announced early in the year that she would not seek re-election after the death of her daughter.

Instead, she helped her son Michael Sareini with his campaign.

The younger Sareini was not only elected to the council in November, he also finished third out of the top seven finishers.

Hubbard also discussed her upcoming retirement from the council, and decision she made before the May deadline for applications to be included on the August primary ballot.

The daughter of former mayor Orville Hubbard, who was in office from 1942 to 1978, Nancy Hubbard and all three of her brothers either served the city politically or as employees in various departments.

During the meeting, she pointed out that it was the first time in 71 years that a Hubbard wasn’t on a city ballot.

“The biggest part I’m going to miss is helping people who can’t help themselves,” Hubbard said.

Hubbard also thanked the residents and fellow council members before listing several achievements she said she was proud of helping either bring to or improve in the city.

The list included several projects from the last 24 years, like turning the Civic Center into the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center and turning Adray Arena into the Dearborn Ice Skating Center.

“We improved nearly every facility that my father built, expanded others and added new amenities that our residents have quickly embraced,” Hubbard said. “We did this as a team.”

She also acknowledged current projects like the moving of city hall to the Dearborn Administration Center and the construction of the Intermodal Passenger Rail Station.

Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. also recognized the outgoing council members, noting their “commitment to go out and get in the field and know what’s going on” by canvassing the neighborhoods and talking to residents.
 “They came back with unique information to bring to the discussion,” O’Reilly said. “The citizens were well-served for the last 24 years.”

O’Reilly was council president before becoming mayor in 2006 and worked with both Hubbard and Sareini.

Beginning in 2014, the council will have a new president, Susan Dabaja, and a new member in Michael Sareini.
 Current Council President Tom Tafelski will become president pro tem and Councilmen Robert Abraham, David Bazzy, Brian O’Donnell and Mark Shooshanian will remain in their seats for the next four years.

The new council, along with O’Reilly and City Clerk Kathleen Buda will be sworn in at the Michael A. Guido Theater in the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. Jan. 2.

The new council will hold its first meeting Jan. 14.

(Bob Oliver can be reached at