By GABRIEL GOODWIN
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE — There were tears of joy, sadness and overwhelming appreciation during the induction of city officials Monday night.
With three officials — Councilman James DeSana, City Assessor Colleen Keehn, and City Treasurer Andrew Swiecki — retiring and Todd Browning being elected city treasurer, both newly-elected and incumbent officials showed much emotion.
“To lose such leadership, words cannot say it correctly,” Mayor Joseph Peterson said.
DeSana is considered an icon by every member of the city government and was referred to as “Mr. Wyandotte” by Peterson for his commitment to the city. He spent 50 years serving the community as mayor, city council member in three different city halls.
There was an obvious and overwhelming air of respect in the building.
“Thanks for the example you’ve set for me and this city,” Browning said.
“I don’t know what the future holds,” Peterson said. “But, there wouldn’t be a future without DeSana.”
Newly elected Councilman Don Schultz said, “(DeSana) was committed to the community and we were very fortunate to have him.”
DeSana was presented with a commemorative clock as Peterson joked “Now, with this clock, you will be able to get to golf on time.”
DeSana gave a tearful goodbye and at one point became very choked up. He offered his sentiments and offered a heartfelt thank you to city officials and to the city of Wyandotte.
Keehn was complimented for always being a constant burst of energy with a smile on her face all the time.
“She deserves to be retiring,” Peterson said. “She has been a great loyal employee and has done such a tremendous job for so many years in city hall.
“She will forever be my friend. She will be missed,”
Keehn said she has been fortunate to have the privilege to serve Wyandotte for 29 years.
“This is a time to celebrate and not to be sad it’s over,” Keehn said. “I’m happy this happened.”
Keehn said that with a bit of luck, she was given opportunity after opportunity and gave each her best. With a budding career, her sentiment for the city and its residents grew.
“These citizens are my scarecrow in life,” Keehn said referencing the Wizard of Oz. “I’m going to miss you most of all.”
Swiecki spent 12 years on city council and 34 years as treasurer.
The night wasn’t all about a reflection on the past. Once the swearing-in of the two new councilors, treasurer and assessor was complete, there was change in focus toward a new beginning.
To complement the night and its experience, William Martin, a local elementary school student, was named Honorary Mayor Monday night.
“(Martin) stated he wanted to be mayor and there were days I wish he was,” Peterson said jokingly.
If Martin could have been mayor for a day, he said he “would make sure it was a great day for the city of Wyandotte.”
Councilman Leonard Sabuda said being re-elected is a great privilege and a great honor that carries great responsibility. He said the city is now in an era where “good choices have to be made” to keep the city safe and prosperous.
“The quality of life we seek must be maintained,” Sabuda said. “I am here to take on that challenge for the next four years.
“I would like to thank the voters for placing their faith and trust in me.”
Councilman Lawrence Stec said it was gratifying to be elected to serve once again and is looking forward to doing his best.
City Clerk William Griggs was presented with a plaque commemorating 40 years of service. He said he is excited to serve for another four years because “it was an honor and a pleasure to serve.”
He thanked voters for the many votes of confidence and assured they “made wise decisions” electing the officials now in office.
“We will do what is right for you.” Griggs said. “That is ultimately our goal.”
(Gabriel Goodwin can be reached at [email protected])