“Acting with the utmost expedition…

Throughout the past few weeks we have taken a look at Michael Fay who was first elected Mayor of Manistee in April 1901.

Michael Fay who was first elected Mayor of Manistee in April 1901 was one of the main people who started the transition in turning the city into a modern community with paved streets and sidewalks.

Michael Fay who was first elected Mayor of Manistee in April 1901 was one of the main people who started the transition in turning the city into a modern community with paved streets and sidewalks.

During this time he not only oversaw the implementation of cement sidewalks in the city, but also helped with several other projects that we are still reaping the benefits of today.

In April 1902 he ran and was reelected Mayor and it was during this time that the Manistee Daily News published an article describing all of the things he had a hand in during his first term. Even though a controversial issue, that of paving the streets themselves, was on the horizon, it was hoped that Manistee would continue to grow with Fay at the helm.

The following article was published in the Manistee Daily News on April 8, 1902:

“Mayor Michael Fay has now served the city of Manistee as its chief executive officer for one year, and the people have endorsed his administration by re-election. The past year has been a momentous one in the city’s growth. Many important and progressive moves have been set on foot. Mayor Fay is ambitious and progressive moves have been set on foot. Mayor Fay is ambitious to leave his mark on the city’s history and should he retire at this time his ambition would be amply fulfilled. Another year will serve to complete work already begun, and may even bring to the front more and weightier matters.

“Acting with the utmost expedition, Mayor Fay applied to the legislature soon after he was elected last year and secured amendments to our charter providing for a board of assessors, and a board of fire and police commissioners.

“Objections have been urged to the assessors on the ground of increased salaries, but the same people who kicked were the ones who for years have bewailed the election of ignorant, dishonest and incompetent supervisors to assess our property. It is easy to believe that the board of assessors will find so much property that has heretofore escaped taxation in whole or in part, that their salaries will be a small consideration indeed. The salaries paid them is the premium on the insurance policy that guarantees efficiency.

“As for the fire and police commission, it will, when better understood, be considered one of the best things that ever happened in Manistee. It puts the two most important forces of workers on a civil service basis, and encourages good work for the public.

“Mayor Fay was largely influential in securing the encampment of National Guards here, and will probably succeed in making it a permanent feature. He has worked in conjunction with those who are seeking to build up the city all along the line. The fine theatre now begun dates from his first term.

“As for the lighting question the sober second thoughts of the people sustain the mayor and council. Manistee people are getting cheaper electric lights than other Michigan consumers, and the city has shouldered no responsibility. Of course the vote to bond was necessary in order to deal with the lighting company.

“Had the council purchased a lighting plant, we would now be raising money to patch it up, and the paving of our streets would be out of the questions. As it is the city is now ready for a splendid campaign of improvement. Clearly this will be the greatest feature of Mayor Fay’s second term. Probably he will favor a board of public works, and when it is provided for the framework of municipal government in Manistee will be as nearly perfect as it can be.

“Another reform which Mayor Fay has taken up is milk inspection. There is nothing spectacular in this, no political capital, but simply hard work for the good of the greatest number.

“Another most important matter that is pressing for public attention is the public library. Mayor Fay is strongly in favor of a library and his party demanded it in its platform. No grander monument could ever stand to any mayor’s administration than a public library. To achieve this is laudable ambition, worthy of Mayor Fay’s best efforts. It would crown a public career with lasting honor and the News hopes to see him as successful in this, as he has been in everything else that he has thus far taken up.”

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Posted by Mark Fedder

Mark Fedder is the executive director of the Manistee County Historical Musuem. He can be reached at (231) 723-5531 ormanisteemuseum@yahoo.com.

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