Mark your calendar. Jan. 28, 2013, will be known as “Mayor Mike Holtz Day” in Robbinsdale.
The announcement came after a proclamation in Holtz’s honor was read during the Jan. 8 council meeting. Councilmembers shared stories and thanked Holtz during the last meeting he conducted as mayor Dec. 18.
“He [Holtz] has 32 years of dedicated service to the City of Robbinsdale,” Councilmember Pat Backen said.
Prior to becoming mayor in 1997, Holtz was Ward 3 representative for 16 years on the council. He also served on numerous city and county boards including the Human Rights Commission, Parks and Recreation Commission, French Park Advisory Committee, Highway 100 Council and the Bottineau Boulevard Commission.
“He created and fostered engagement in Robbinsdale with his leadership,” Backen said.
“In 32 years, he has helped improve and enrich Robbinsdale neighborhoods. His service on the city council is coming to a close, but we expect him to be involved with the city for years to come.”
Councilmember Bill Blonigan has served on the city council with Holtz since 1981 and said it had been his pleasure.
“You’ve represented the city very competently and in a very distinguished manner,” he said to Holtz. “Other cities think of you with the utmost of respect.”
The way Holtz has conducted business in the city has earned him the respect of Councilmember Dan Rogan as well. Rogan, who’s served on the council for eight years, said what he’s been impressed with most is how Holtz was always willing to give someone a chance to talk.
“I think that’s a great thing you’ve done,” he said. “It makes Robbinsdale better and gives people an opportunity to be heard. You’ve been very approachable and have created a culture where people feel like they have an opportunity to be heard by staff and call you up as mayor. Thirty-two years is a long time to have your number out there and anyone in Robbinsdale can pick up the phone and bend your ear about something.”
“You’ve really been a face of Robbinsdale, you always put Robbinsdale first no matter what,” Backen added. “You are always looking at what is in the best interest or Robbinsdale, and that’s not easy.”
Backen said that the job of a councilmember is an interesting one because every four years, you have to ask for your job back.
“Thirty-two years is a long time to do anything,” he said. “Eight times people have said you’ve been the right man for the job. That’s a huge compliment to you and what you’ve done.”
Emotions ran high for members of the council and George Selman said Holtz has been instrumental in showing him the ropes of the job.
“We met 25 years ago at the JC’s,” he said. “You got me involved with things and I took baby steps. It went a long way. You were like a big brother to me and you still are. As I thought about what to say tonight, ‘thank you’ are the only words I can come up with.”
Holtz made the decision to not run for re-election last fall and, at first, the only person he told was City Manager Marcia Glick. He said he hasn’t thought much about the decision since.
“I made the decision and lived with it,” he said. “Am I going to miss it? I’m 64 … I’ve been here 32 years. That’s half of my life. That’s a lot of Tuesdays. Half of the Tuesdays of my life.”
He said he appreciated the people of Ward 3 back in 1981 for giving him the first opportunity to get involved with the council.
“Here I am 32 years later and enjoying every minute of it,” he said. “Not one time would I do it any differently. It’s been a pleasure.”
Contact Anna Woodwick at email@example.com