By BROOKE STEVENSON
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE — City officials looked back fondly on their previous terms during Monday’s inauguration.
Former council members Jason Ptak, Patrick Sutka and Johnny Kolakowski all reflected on their years in office before the new council officially was sworn in.
Kolakowski and Sutka could not run again due to term limits; Ptak served one term.
Council members Sheri Sutherby-Fricke and Todd Browning were re-elected, former Mayor James DeSana was elected to the council and former Councilman Joseph Peterson was elected mayor.
DeSana thanked the six council members that served with him for the last four years.
“When we started off four years ago we faced some challenges,” he said. “We all knew the job that we had to do and we did it.
“We did what we had to do. But the most important things is that all seven of us did it together.”
DeSana added that he was sad to see Ptak leave before his term limits were up, but he believes he will come back to city government.
“It’s been a great experience working on the council here,” Ptak said. “There are a lot of people that helped to make it the experience that it was.”
He added that he was glad to have the opportunity to serve, and that he hoped he lived up to voter expectations.
“I think we did a good job over the last four years,” Ptak said. “Sometimes we disagreed on things, but above all I think we are all friends coming out of this situation.”
DeSana said that Sutka always kept the previous council “in line” when it came to money and budget issues.
“I think (Sutka) can be quite proud of his accomplishments while he takes on a bigger job, quite frankly, at the Wyandotte Board of Education as a school board member,” DeSana said.
Sutka was elected to the board May 5, receiving more votes than any other candidate.
“It’s been a real honor to serve the citizens of Wyandotte for the last 12 years,” Sutka said. “I have met a lot of people that have enhanced my life.”
He wishes the new council and mayor the best of luck, adding they will have many challenges to face in the next four years.
DeSana said Kolakowski was never intimidated by anyone in the audience during council meetings and he was always confident in casting his vote.
“Sometimes you have to be a risk taker and look how things may benefit down the road,” DeSana said. “John Kolakowski in my opinion was always that person. He was willing to take a chance.” Kolakowski said he has had his “boxing gloves” on for a long time and thanked his family for their support.
“I was always more than happy to help the city and the mayor in any way that I could,” he said.
DeSana believes Peterson was an “excellent addition” to the council and was glad that they could remain friends even after heated discussions.
“There is no person that I know that has shown more dedication than Joe,” DeSana said. “He was an excellent councilman, and I’m sure he will be a great mayor.”
Peterson said it was amazing how time flies and thanked the council members and DeSana for guiding him through the last four years.
The first City Council meeting with the newly elected mayor and council (see related story) will be held tomorrow.