Former Ferndale Mayor David Coulter has been sworn in as Oakland County executive to serve the remainder of the late County Executive L. Brooks Patterson’s term, which ends on Dec. 31, 2020.
Coulter, a Democrat, takes over from Gerald Poisson, the former chief deputy county executive who was sworn in to the post Aug. 3 immediately following Patterson’s death from pancreatic cancer. Patterson, a Republican, had been Oakland County’s executive for nearly three decades.
Coulter was sworn in by Chief Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Shalina Kumar in her courtroom in the Oakland County Circuit Court Building in Pontiac. He was appointed to the position by the county’s Board of Commissioners Aug. 16.
Mayor of Ferndale since January 2011, Coulter represented Ferndale, Hazel Park, and Royal Oak as Oakland County commissioner for four terms (2002-2010), where he also served as Democratic leader.
He has been active on many community projects including working with the late Gerry Kulick as a council-appointed member of the Community Center Task Force that resulted a facility in Ferndale that bears her name. He also was a member of the Human Rights Ordinance Committee in 1999 and was a trustee on the Ferndale Library Board 2004-05, beginning the work that eventually led to the library’s expansion.
As mayor, Coulter worked to strengthen ties to the business community through the creation of the Mayor’s Business Council. Also, he created the Blue Ribbon Commission of Ferndale Parks to upgrade the city’s parks through grants and private funds. In addition, he instituted a multi-year budgeting process to force departments to look further ahead to economic challenges facing the city.
A native of St. Clair Shores and a graduate of Bishop Gallagher High School in Harper Woods, Coulter earned a bachelor’s degree 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.