City Council

The City of Ferndale is governed by a mayor and four-member City Council. City Council meetings are held on the second and fourth Monday of each month, at 7:00 p.m. in City Hall Council Chambers. To learn more about meetings and regulations, see our Council rules. For information about Ferndale’s government structure, see the organization chart.

Term: 2016-2017
Phone: (248) 543 - 8984
Email: [email protected]

Dave Coulter has been Mayor of Ferndale since January 2011. Prior to  that, he represented Ferndale, Hazel Park, and Royal Oak as Oakland County Commissioner for four terms (2002-2010), where he also  served as Democratic Leader.

Coulter has been active on many community projects. He worked with the late Gerry Kulick as a Council-appointed member of the  Community Center Task Force that resulted in the center that bears her name. He was also a member of the Human Rights Ordinance  Committee in 1999, and was a Trustee on the Ferndale Library Board  in 2004-05, beginning the work that eventually led to the library’s  expansion.

As mayor, Coulter has worked to strengthen ties to the business community through the creation of the Mayor's Business Council. He created the Blue Ribbon Commission of Ferndale Parks to upgrade the City’s parks through grants and private funds. He also instituted a multi-year budgeting process to force departments to look further ahead to economic challenges facing the City.

Coulter earned a B.A. in Social Science from Michigan State University, and an Executive Education Certificate from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Formerly a civil engineering draftsman and public school teacher, Coulter worked for 13 years in public affairs at Michigan Consolidated Gas Company and served as executive director of the nonprofit Michigan AIDS Fund. He is currently the program officer for the Children's Hospital of Michigan Foundation. He enjoys college sports (especially the Spartans), travel, golf, and roller coasters. 

Term: 2014 - 2017
Phone: (248) 210-8645
Email: [email protected]

Melanie served her first term starting in 2010 and was reelected to  serve a second term in 2013.

A creative spirit and problem solver, Melanie focuses on creating  livable cities, sustainable organizations, and effective local  governments that lead to more equitable and inclusive places. With her  background in interactive marketing, urban planning, and strategic  development and implementation, Melanie applies her professional  experience and education to serve the Ferndale community and region.

Melanie works for the Downtown Detroit Partnership (DDP), a  nonprofit dedicated to revitalizing Downtown Detroit. Prior to DDP, she worked for nine years in downtown Ferndale at the Michigan Suburbs Alliance, a startup nonprofit dedicated to inner-ring suburb revitalization, regional policy, energy sustainability, transportation advocacy, and municipal collaboration. With experience working with over 20 municipalities in partnership with elected officials, city managers, and city staff, Melanie holds a strong belief that our interdependence and regional connectivity enhances community vitality. She also worked in automotive interactive web marketing before her career change to urban development.

Melanie is a member of the Project Management Institute, American Planning Association and local chapter, Michigan Association of Planning, and the Urban Land Use Institute. In her council position, Melanie currently serves on the Planning Commission, Ferndale Environmental Sustainability Commission (FESC), and represents Ferndale on the Woodward Avenue Bus Rapid Transit Steering Committee. In October 2015, Melanie was appointed to represent Ferndale as a Board Trustee for the Michigan Municipal League.

Originally from the Genoa Township/Brighton area, Melanie has lived in Ferndale with her husband for over ten years. Melanie loves to bicycle, explore new places, experience different cultures, and dabble in photography. If you need a photo of an urban amenity—bollards, parking garages, street furniture, signs, or bike lanes—she probably has it.

Term: 2016-2019
Email: [email protected]


Dan Martin was elected in 2011 to his first term on City Council. He is the former chair of the Ferndale Community Foundation and still serves on that Board. Martin also sits on the Boards of Ferndale Youth Assistance and Michigan AIDS Coalition. Before being elected to Council, he served on Ferndale’s Police and Fire Board as well as the Arts Commission. On Council, Martin serves on the Employees Retirement Board of Trustees, the Police and Fire Retirement System Board of Trustees, and the Capital Improvement Plan Committee.

Martin is a graduate of Michigan State University and currently attends Oakland University’s Master of Public Administration program. He works as director of provider services and communications for Blue Care Network of Michigan.

Term: 2016-2019
Phone: (248) 866-0701
Email: [email protected]


 Raylon Leaks-May has been a Ferndale resident for twenty-five years,  serving in a variety of instrumental professional roles within the  community. She brings to City Council a history of successful  communication and collaboration with local leaders, as well as  extensive strategic planning and government policy experience.

 A former insurance professional and small-business proprietor, Leaks-  May most recently served on the Ferndale Schools Board of Education  as a trustee and treasurer. Working with the organization for more than  three years, she had roles with the Strategic Planning Committee,  Finance Committee, Operations Committee, and Governance  Committee. Additionally, Leaks-May has a history of strong support and involvement with community organizations, including board member roles with the Ferndale Education Foundation, Citizens for a Fair Ferndale, and the Women Officials Network. She owns a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies from Madonna University.

Leaks-May says she looks forward to furthering the City of Ferndale in the areas of smart development, inclusive collaboration, and multi-generational vision—including ensuring strong housing plans for individuals of all ages; resident health and development via improved parks, recreation, and roadways; a whole-city approach to business and transportation growth and development; and a voice for underrepresented individuals in critical decision-making. 

Term: 2014-2017
Phone: (586) 944-5414
Email: [email protected]

Born in southwest Detroit and raised in Warren, Greg Pawlica purchased his first home and moved to Ferndale in 2002. He began a long and rewarding venture in leadership roles with a variety of nonprofit organizations as early as 1995.

Pawlica became actively involved in Ferndale in 2006, working on the successful passage of the Human Rights Ordinance. In 2007, he was appointed by City Council to the Ferndale Police and Fire Board and the Sidewalk Hardship Committee. That same year, Pawlica began serving on the board of the Ferndale Community Foundation, a nonprofit organization that grants funds to projects that impact and supports the citizens of Ferndale. In 2010, he was appointed by City Council to a 12-person Blue Ribbon Finance Committee to identify opportunities that would keep Ferndale solvent in the years following the financial collapse of 2008-09. Pawlica went on to co-chair the “Yes to Ferndale” campaign, became an advisor to Dan Martin in his bid for a Council seat in 2011, became a founding member of Ferndale Pride, and served as chair of the Ferndale Community Foundation. In 2013, Mayor Dave Coulter appointed Greg to the Blue Ribbon Parks Committee to help identify funding opportunities for new park amenities.

Pawlica began his professional career at Ford Motor Company in 1998 as a project administrator. Over the years, he has held various positions at Ford and has been responsible for several multi-million-dollar projects. Today, Pawlica works in the Automotive Safety Office as a government investigations systems strategist. He received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 2006 from Central Michigan University, where he graduated with honors.