The blond-going-gray lawyer hasn't lost a lawsuit since he got the job. But he's won more and bigger cases in the past year than ever before. Postema, who'd shuttered the Dream Nite Club in 2011 after a shooting plus multiple fights and assaults, beat back the owners' lawsuits alleging civil rights and procedural violations. He also smacked down a $30 million suit by the would-be developers of the old Y lot, who claimed city council's decision not to proceed with their project was due to bias against the handicapped. And those are only two of the cases the city's won in the last year--with dozens more over the past decade.
With a record like that, even John Hieftje--typically sparing in his praise for city staffers--has only good things to say about Postema: "Stephen's a guy with a lot of integrity, and he's never lost a case," says the mayor. "What more do you want from an attorney?"
"Stephen has high legal ethics," agrees city administrator Steve Powers. "He and the attorneys in his department are very, very clear in their role and have been very, very clear in their advice to council--and in their understanding that their role ends when they make their legal recommendation."
"He's one of the outstanding city attorneys in the state," says Bill Mathewson, the Michigan Municipal League's general council. "He was chosen by his peers to be president of the statewide Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys. It's really quite an honor."