By Deb Malewski
– Contributing Writer

Bill Steele is the newest member of Eaton Rapids City Council, representing Precinct 3, which is the area on the east side of the river. Steele is replacing Jeremy Milam, who was elected to the spot but resigned due to an employment conflict. The council seat was opened to residents of Precinct 3 and three applied for the position. Steel was unanimously selected for the two-year term at the Feb. 10 council meeting.

Steele is a life-long resident of Eaton Rapids, having graduated with the Eaton Rapids High School class of 1967. Steele said he retired after 37 years as an organizational growth and development consultant for General Motors, which involved facilitating meetings across the country. He taught computer integrated manufacturing at Lansing Community College, where he also studied aviation and achieved his pilot’s license.

Steele has been active in the community for many years. He admitted he has a soft spot in his heart for the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and served as the president of CERT for six years. He’s a trustee for the Eaton Rapids Conservation Club and served on the city’s property tax board of review. He is a licensed private pilot but is not active.

Steele said that, after much discussion with his wife about the time commitment for meetings and other council obligations, he decided to apply for the city council position.

He’s observed the dynamics of the council, he said, and likes the composition of the council and is impressed with the talented individuals on it. He said these are the people he will be relying on as he gets up to speed and learns about the workings of the council. There is a lot of protocol to learn, he admitted.

Aaron Desentz, Eaton Rapid’s city manager, was also an influence on Steele’s decision to apply for the seat.

“(Desentz) presents things well; he’s knowledgeable but not arrogant, and he really knows the statutory process,” Steele said.

Steele said he thinks people skills are an attribute he brings to council. He considers himself a good listener and knows how to ask questions to be able to understand a situation. He is willing to explore options to help resolve issues, he said.

“I don’t get excited, I get enthused,” he explained. “If you lose control, you lose.

“I learn more from people who disagree with me. They challenge you and may present a different perspective that you hadn’t considered before.”

Steele can be contacted via email at

Suzanne Politza

Also new to the city council this year is Suzanne Politza, who represents Precinct 1. Politza is also a graduate of Eaton Rapids High School. She has lived here much of her life, other than when her husband was in the military and for some time in Texas. In Texas, she earned an associate degree in applied science general business. They returned to Michigan in 2005, and she worked for the state of Michigan, retiring in 2013.

Politza is active with Capital City Corvette Club, the Eaton Rapids High School Alumni Committee and is on the advisory board for the senior center in Eaton Rapids. She can be contacted via email at