Newly Elected Detroit Council President, Mary Sheffield, Ready to Lead

Mary Sheffield, a long-serving Detroit City Councilperson for District 5, was sworn in on Tuesday, January 4 as the newly elected Detroit City Council president.

Sheffield won the top spot in a 7-2 vote amongst her colleagues as a new term for the legislative body began this week. Councilman James Tate was elected as new City Council President Pro Tem.


Sheffield, described to have a demonstrated track record of service and leadership within the community was the youngest person to ever be elected to the Detroit City Council (in November 2013) and went on to hold the highest council seat.



In a statement, Sheffield thanked God for ordering her steps and giving her the ability and “fortitude” to walk in her purpose.

“To my colleagues who so graciously entrusted me with the awesome responsibility of presiding over this body which has the sacred duty of protecting the interest of the residents of our great City, I extend my sincere gratitude for your support,” Sheffield said in her statement. “I would like to also thank everyone who took the opportunity to encourage me to pursue the Office of City Council President and offered prayers, their counsel and assistance. It meant the world to hear your expressions of confidence in my ability to lead.”

Sheffield also said she “humbled” to join the ranks of former Council Presidents Sen. Carl Levin, Erma Henderson, Gil Hill, Maryann Mahaffey and immediate past president Brenda Jones who “ushered Detroit through some of its darkest and best times.”

“While I recognize that holding this title is truly and honor and something to be proud of, I, more importantly, understand the assignment and responsibilities that come with such an esteemed position,” Sheffield said, adding that she is ready to work diligently with her fellow Council Members, our Legislative Policy Division, the Administration and the residents of Detroit to deliver “real and tangible quality of life-improving results” for those they serve.

“I am also committed to re-establishing the reputation of Council and restoring the faith the Community has in this Body,” Sheffield said, adding that this cannot be accomplished alone and she values working closely with her colleagues and maintaining unity in executing mandated duties. “Although there can be only one Council President, just as I preside over District 5 by incorporating the will of people, I will ensure that each individual member has an equal and unfettered voice in the process and business before this body. I pledge to do my part to help foster the decorum, civility and effectiveness that should be the norm with a democratically elected body.”

As the new president, Sheffield said that she has some ideas on how to improve Detroit City Council proceedings:

  • Modernize council proceedings and voting through technology
  • Increase transparency and sharing of information with the Community
  • Enhance the public’s ability to attend and participate in Council meetings
  • Set weekly agendas in a manner that respects the public’s & members’ time
  • Work to establish better working relationships with other governing bodies
  • Develop a collaborative annual legislative agenda
  • Prioritize inclusion & equity for Detroiters through City expenditures

Sheffield said that she excited about embarking on this journey.

“While the challenges are great there has been no more resilient City or people on the planet than Detroit and its residents,” Sheffield said. “So together, we will meet those challenges with ingenuity, hard work, innovation, solidarity and a love for one another and our City.”

Digital Anchor Andre Ash contributed to this report.

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