By BROOKE STEVENSON
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE — After serving as mayor for 21 of the last 48 years, James DeSana will not seek re-election for the 2009-13 term.
He formally announced at Monday’s City Council meeting that while he has enjoyed serving the people of the city, being there for his family is very important to him.
“The mayor’s position requires attendance at many events and meetings in addition to the administrative duties associated with that office,” DeSana said, “Everyone who knows me knows how much I enjoy my family and how much I love my grandchildren.
“It is important to me to be present at their school and sports activities. Sometimes they need a boost from their grandpa when they lose their game or just have a bad day.”
The 78-year-old mayor is a father of five and a grandfather of 20. He said his grandchildren enjoy when he can be with them “to do some of those little extra things.”
“Although I will not seek re-election to the office of mayor, there is a good possibility I will continue to be involved in city government,” he said.
After more than 30 years of serving as an elected official, DeSana believes he still can benefit the community.
“I have made many friends in positions at the county, state and federal levels that I could continue to call upon for assistance so that we can carry on the progress that has already been made in our city,” he said.
DeSana, a lifelong Wyandotte resident, has served as a city councilman twice from 1957 to 1961 and 2001 to 2005. He has served as mayor from 1961 to 1968, 1987 to 1997 and from 2005 to the present.
Also included in his career are seven years as a Wayne County commissioner, 10 years as a state senator and three years as director of the Michigan Department of Transportation.
“I have enjoyed serving the people of this community as their mayor and appreciate the privilege to have served them in that capacity,” DeSana said, “We have continued to progress and have managed our city well during some very difficult times.”
Councilwoman Sheri Sutherby Fricke said she was glad to see that the mayor had came to a decision about the upcoming term.
“A lot of people have been asking if you were going to run again or not, and rumors have been going around,” she said to DeSana, “It is good that you have made a decision, even if it is a sad decision.
“The city wouldn’t be the same without you. Thank you sir, for everything.”
“We have accomplished a lot,” DeSana said, “We handled it in a way where people can still respect us, even if we disagreed.”
He plans to present a formal report on the progress the council has made during the last four years closer to the end of the term.
The filing date for those who wish to run for city office is Jan. 6; the general city and school board election is May 5.