A New Baltimore councilman and president of the volunteer-ran Bay-Rama group is seeking the city's top-elected position this summer.
John Dupray, who is serving a council position following appointment, announced recently that he will run for mayor. Dupray filed paperwork with Macomb County and was drawing petitions for the race on Wednesday, he told Patch.
"I did pull petitions today and I'm in the race for mayor," he said.
Dupray is expected to square off against incumbent Mayor Larry Smith who did not return a call seeking comment Wednesday. According to the county, the filing deadline for candidates is 4 p.m. May 14 for the Aug. 6 primary election. Other positions on city council will also be on the ballot.
Dupray said he was motivated to run for office because he's a longtime resident who loves the community.
He pointed out several things he would like to accomplish in the position.
"I want to provide what I call respectful leadership," he said Wednesday, adding, "The decision-making process should be community driven."
He acknowledged Smith's decision to fire Planning and Economic Development Director Judy Sproat last December is an example of the direction he wants to move away from. Smith said he did not need to seek council's approval for removing Sproat because she was an at-will employee. He notified councilmembers of her termination in an email.
Smith, a retired law enforcement officer who heads the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, has encountered resistance on council for issues he's championed, such as a potential lease deal with Anchor Bay Schools for recreation and commercial appraisals of waterfront, city-owned land. The school district partnership for recreation was turned down by the city and council has recently scrutinized the appraisal request, leading to heated conversations among the city officials.
Smith also weathered a charter-revision proposal that would have paved way for a city manager form of government as opposed to the current mayor-strong format. At the time, the mayor said the effort was a personal attack on him while others on council said the charter's outdated language was overdue for modernizing.
A majority of residents rejected the charter revision and amendments were expected to take place instead.
Smith ran unopposed for his second term in the last mayoral race.
Dupray said Wednesday he also would like to expand recreation, but his vision includes "untapped" resources in town. Additionally, he aims to create a single vision for the historic downtown if elected mayor.
City officials said at the time that they ultimately decided to go with Dupray because of his knowledge serving on council. Dupray previously stepped in to fill a vacancy left by Carlos Aprea when he moved on to the Parks and Recreation Department. He also served on the Planning Commission. He is president of the Bay-Rama group that runs the popular Fishfly Festival every summer in New Baltimore and president of the New Baltimore Farmers' Market.
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