Former Mayor Clarence E. Phillips was born, raised and received his formal education in the city of Pontiac. He was a graduate of Pontiac Central High School. He was married to Lorene Phillips and had two sons, Kaino and Damani. Mayor Phillips served 4 years in the U.S. Air Force and is a Vietnam era veteran. His military record includes service of 10 years in the air force reserve as a human relations instructor. He was a graduate of the department of defense equal opportunity and management institute. He earned Associates in Arts degree from Oakland Community College, a B.A. in Sociology/Psychology from Oakland University and a B.A. in Secondary Education from Oakland University. Now retired, he taught for 25 years in the Oak Park School District. For seven of those years was director of the Alternative Education Center in Oak Park. His political background includes being a John F. Kennedy alumnus at Harvard University, 3 times elected to the Pontiac City Council, 3 years served as President of the Pontiac City Council, served on the city of Pontiac planning commission for 14 years.
He was elected 3 times to the Michigan House of Representatives where he served on the House Appropriations Committee and in 2005 was elected mayor of the city of Pontiac. He served as mayor until 2009. Clarence Phillips was a member of the Oakland County Veterans group, Vietnam Veterans of America, the American Legion Post 20, and Kiwanis Club. He volunteered 25 years with the Pontiac schools’ athletic programs, serving as stadium public address announcer for the PCH/PNH football games, coached softball/baseball for 15 years and organizeda city wide free law fair.
Additionally, he created the concept for the newly built Veterans Memorial in Pontiac, organized the Old Timers Annual Summer Picnic, the Pontiac Center Reunion and created the Annual Metro-Michigan High School Jazz Band Competition for high schools all over the state of Michigan. He was the recipient of numerous awards including the LCLAA Cesar E. Chavez Humanitarian Award, Lakeside Achievement Award, the Black History Month Service Award, the Greater Pontiac Community Coalition Award, the OCC Alumni of the Year Award, the American Legion’s Americanism Medal (highest award), and created "Community Perspectives ", a public service program on the state level generated out of the Capitol Building in Lansing for local cable television to name a few. His life's mission was to give all of himself for a purpose so much greater then ones existence. He did that until the day he left this world.