By BOB OLIVER
HEIGHTS – Voters casting their ballots didn’t opt for much personnel change in yesterday’s general election, with all of the incumbents in their respective races retaining their seats.
In the mayoral race, incumbent Daniel Paletko defeated City Council Pro-Tem Janet Badalow 4,505 votes to 2,465.
Paletko has been mayor since 2004 and will serve his third full term in office.
“I’m very pleased by the results of the election,” Paletko said. “I consider it an honor and a privilege to serve as the mayor of Dearborn Heights. I’m overwhelmed and I very much appreciate the support of the voters in the city.”
Paletko said he personally walked roughly 80 percent of the city during his campaign to knock on doors and speak to residents about issues they feel need to be addressed in the city and give them a chance to have their voices heard.
“I believe in grassroots campaigning and I believe that that is what works best for me,” Paletko said. “Plus, I got to spend time with so many wonderful people and hear both what they like and dislike about working and living in Dearborn Heights. This gives me a good picture about what I need to outline in the next four years.”
He added that he dedicated the campaign to three individuals who meant a lot to him: his father, Stanley Paletko; mother, Helen Paletko; and friend and former state Sen. David Plawecki, all of whom are now deceased.
“All of these people meant so much to me and as I talked and campaigned I thought of them and drew motivation from their impact on my life,” Paletko said.
Moving forward from the election, Paletko said that he plans to continue working to move the city out of its deficit and to continue to seek ways to make the city operate more efficiently. The city is expecting a deficit that was roughly $5.5 million to be just over $2 million by June 30.
He added that the city is currently in discussions with neighbors Dearborn, Westland and Garden City about having the cities find ways to provide better services to their communities by working together.
“That’s going to be the new model moving into the future: communities clustering together to deliver services at the lowest cost to the residents,” Paletko said.
Badalow has been on the city council since 2001, but could not run for both mayor and a seat on the city council in the same election, so her seat will expire at the end of the year.
There were five candidates running to fill four open spots in the city council, and incumbents Margaret Horvath (4,555), Joseph Kosinski (4,550) and Thomas Berry (4,142) all received enough votes to keep their seats.
Kosinski, who will begin his sixth non-consecutive term in January, said that he is happy to be able to serve another term on the council and that he was told by some community members that it was his experience and leadership background that impressed them and led them to support his campaign.
“I take it as a compliment that my long-term service and experience has a been a benefit to the city I live in and represent,” Kosinski said. “I intend to continue serving the city to the best of my ability and to continue to work with the mayor, city clerk and my fellow city council members to move the city forward.”
The fourth seat will go to Bob Constan, who previously served on the City Council before leaving in 2006 after being elected state representative for the city. Constan received the most votes of all the council candidates on the ballot with 4,650.
Kosinski said he didn’t know a lot about Constan, but said he was looking forward to working with him when he joins the council in January.
“Constan has served on this council before, so he shouldn’t have any difficulty in melding with the rest of us,” Kosinski said. “I hope and believe that if we have a forum where all of the council members can say their piece and we can have a spirited discussion, we can come up with the best suggestions and solutions to address the important issues that are facing the city.”
Paletko said that the addition of Constan to the city council would be good for the community.
“The city really needs to have a council that works together to address concerns for the residents,” Paletko said. “I believe the seven members of the council that we will have beginning January 1 have the city’s best interests at heart and will also work well as a team, which is very important for the city.”
Business development manager Lisa Farrens finished fifth, receiving 3,678 votes.
City Clerk Walter J. Prusiewicz and City Treasurer John J. Riley ran unopposed for their positions. Prusiewicz will serve a second term as clerk after being elected to the position in 2011. He took over as clerk after being appointed to the position in April 2011.
Riley has been city treasurer since 2004 and is seeking his sixth term in that capacity.
All of the elected positions are four-year terms.
Calls to Badalow and Constan were not returned in time for publication.
(Bob Oliver can be reached at [email protected])