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Date of Issue: June 09, 2010

Pierce devoted to Bradenton Beach

As he campaigned for mayor last fall, Michael Pierce often told voters, “I just want what’s good for the city.”

Last week, saying he will always want what’s good for the city, Pierce resigned from the mayoral post. He said he must focus on family needs.

Colleagues and friends, citizens and business owners, responding to the announcement, said Pierce can take pride in his achievements.

In an interview with The Islander last fall, Pierce discussed his path to Bradenton Beach and city hall.

“My first howl came from Howell,” he said of his birth in Howell, Mich.

He grew up in the state and, like many Michiganders, went to work in the auto industry. His company was GM.

“I did a lot of different things at GM,” he said. His years with the automaker eventually made it possible for Pierce, before his retirement, to divide his time between home in Lansing, Mich., and on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

“My parents used to come down and stay on Anna Maria in the ’50s,” Pierce said last fall.

Later, Pierce built a house in Sarasota and then purchased and renovated a home in Bradenton Beach.

He settled into life in Bradenton Beach, but not into no-work retirement.

Instead Pierce became involved in civic activities, including volunteering for Anna Maria Elementary School and for the scenic highway committee that became ScenicWAVES. He was appointed to the city commission in 2006 and, the next year, ran a successful campaign for mayor.

“I felt like I could help,” Pierce said of his decision to enter local politics. “I wanted to do something for the greater good of the city and to do good for everyone in the city, whether they have a $1 million (home) or are just paying the rent.”

Pierce has said he is proud of the projects the city has tackled in recent years, when he served as commissioner and also as mayor, including the reconstruction of the Historic Bridge Street Pier, the approval of new solar-powered streetlights for the commercial district and the installation of new sidewalks along Cortez Road and Gulf Drive coming off the bridge.