Jun 21, 2010

A great friend of the taxpayer passes away

A true consensus builder, Republican Oakland County Commissioner Jeff Potter died of an apparent heart attack this morning at his South Lyon home.

Potter served as the Mayor of South Lyon for 13 years. I met him when I covered the City for the South Lyon Herald in the late 1990s. He helped made South Lyon the fastest growing city in the state and the small city of some 10,000 people a pleasant city to live in.

He was an organizer and founding community sponsor of the Huron Valley Trail System, which connects many southwest Oakland communities and area parks. In addition, Potter authored a Strategic Land Acquisition project to preserve land for 'greenspace' and future parks. There were lots of housing developments then, and Potter persuaded the developers to connect the development into South Lyon’s growing bike trail that eventually pushed all the way to the Kensington Metro Park and Island State Recreation Area.

He was an expert at putting coalitions together. In 1998 the city needed a new city hall and the growing South Lyon School District needed new board offices. Potter had the bright idea of buying one piece of property and building one building, saving taxpayers thousands of dollars. For that project he was honored with the Distinguished Leadership in Joint Public Services Award and Outstanding Project Award for southeastern Michigan, by the Center for Joint Public Services.

Former South Lyon Mayor John Doyle, who took office after Potter was elected to Board of Commissioners in 2003, said it best when he told the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus that Potter was the "best leader the city of South Lyon has ever had."

He will be missed.

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