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Posted on: September 23, 2021

Sterling Heights Councilmember Barbara Ziarko Named League Vice President

Sterling Heights City Councilmember Barbara Ziarko has been named as the Michigan Municipal League’s 2021-22 Vice President.

Ziarko was selected vice president by the 18-member Board of Trustees on Sept. 21 during the Michigan Municipal League’s Convention in Grand Rapids. The Board also named Flint City Councilmember Monica Galloway as president. As vice president, Ziarko is in line to become League president in 2022-23.

Ziarko said she was honored to be selected as the Board’s vice president and pledged to work with Board President Galloway and the full Board on the organization’s ongoing community wealth building and diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

“I’m excited to be able to serve Michigan statewide and am grateful that the Board has confidence in me to serve in this role,” Ziarko said.

League CEO and Executive Director Dan Gilmartin said the organization and membership are in good hands with Ziarko and Galloway at the helm.

“MML is fortunate to have Barbara and Monica as leaders of our Board,” Gilmartin said. “The depth of their varied experience, savvy, and knowledge will help elevate our organization in the next year as the League assists municipalities to build community wealth, emerge from the pandemic, and invest in the future in ways that enhance the human experience for everyone.”

Councilmember Ziarko has served on the Sterling Heights City Council since 2001 and has been a resident of Sterling Heights since 1977. Barbara holds an associate degree from Macomb Community College and is a retired bookkeeper for St. Blase Catholic Church in Sterling Heights. She is a graduate of the civilian police and fire academies and the Sterling Heights CERT program. 

An Athena Award past nominee, Barbara is a member of the Friends of the Sterling Heights Public Library, and volunteers for The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW), the Pope Francis Center in Detroit, and St. Jude Children's Hospital. She has served as co-coordinator for the Macomb County Rotating Emergency Shelter Team at St. Blase Catholic Community. Barbara was a committee member of the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life event in Sterling Heights (2005-2010) and served on the Regina High School Board of Directors from 2008 to 2015. She is also a member of the American Polish Century Club Ladies Auxiliary and the Michigan Municipal League Board of Trustees. 

Barbara married Tom Ziarko in 1977 and they had one daughter, Stacy. Barbara and Tom remained happily married until his passing in 2014.

Ziarko added she has been greatly influenced by the League and recalls a documentary film shown at one of the past League conferences about the importance of bringing people together following the 2016 Presidential election. She continually uses those lessons learned.

“My time with the MML and on the MML Board has helped me realize how different we are throughout the state and that our needs may not be the same,” Ziarko said. “But to thrive we must understand we’re also the same in a lot of ways. We need to bring people together and respect each other’s opinions even when they are different from our own.”

In addition to selecting Ziarko and Galloway as the Board Vice President and President, the League membership also elected six new Board members during its annual meeting Wednesday, Sept. 22. The new members are Joshua Atwood, Lapeer City Commissioner; Rebecca Chamberlain-Creanga, Troy City Councilmember; Don Gerrie, Sault Ste. Marie Mayor; Joshua Meringa, Grandville City Councilmember; Valerie Kindle, Harper Woods Mayor; and Lake Isabella Village Manager Tim Wolff.

The new Trustees join Galloway, Ziarko and the other volunteers who remain on the 2021-22 Board—Robert Clark, Monroe Mayor; Peter Dame, Grosse Pointe City Manager; Carla Filkins, Cadillac Mayor; Stephen Gawron, Muskegon Mayor; Robert La Fave, L’Anse Village Manager; Andrè L. Spivey, Detroit City Councilmember; Deborah Stuart, Mason City Manager; Patrick Sullivan, Northville City Manager; Keith Van Beek, Holland City Manager; and Mark Washington, Grand Rapids City Manager.

The League Board and League CEO/Executive Director Dan Gilmartin also thanked the outgoing Trustees for their years of service: League President William Wild, Westland Mayor; Vice President Dr. Deirdre Waterman, Pontiac Mayor; Michael Cain, City Manager of Boyne City; Brian Chapman, Sault Ste. Marie City Manager; Frances McMullan, Ypsilanti City Manager; Jean Stegeman, Menominee Mayor; and Diane Brown Wilhelm, Midland City Councilmember.

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