4th term at helm for Dearborn commissioner
Wayne County Commissioner Gary Woronchak was elected chair of the commission for a fourth consecutive term Jan. 5.
Woronchak (D-Dearborn) was elected by his colleagues on the 15-member commission at its organizational meeting for the 2017-18 term.
As chairman, Woronchak is responsible for the commission’s $9.24 million budget and its employees. He also is responsible for scheduling and presiding over meetings, setting agendas and appointing members to standing committees.
The County Commission is the legislative branch of county government, providing oversight and checks and balances on the administration of Wayne County Executive Warren Evans. The commission approves the annual county budget, approves contracts, passes resolutions and enacts ordinances.
Commissioners select a chair at the beginning of each two-year term, under the county charter. Woronchak was first elected chair in 2011.
Woronchak is beginning his seventh term on the commission, representing Dearborn and Allen Park in the commission’s 13th District. Prior to being elected to the commission in 2004, he served three terms in the state House of Representatives. Before government service, he worked more than 20 years as a newspaper editor.
In his remarks to commissioners following re-election as chairman, Woronchak reflected on the role of the commission in relation to the Evans administration.
“Government is designed to have some level of built-in friction between the branches,” Woronchak said. “We’re supposed to be at odds sometimes. It’s really quite an effective system, all designed so the people’s business will be conducted openly, fairly and without corruption.
“There is an executive branch to administer the daily operations and delivery of service. And there is a legislative branch to directly represent the people in this process.
“That is self-governance,” Woronchak said. “Whether it’s a county commission, the state Legislature or the United States Congress, the people must approve of what government does. And the people do that through us, their elected representatives.”
Woronchak pointed out that this is the first term in at least 25 years when there has not been at least one new commissioner joining their ranks. All 15 commissioners were returned to office in elections in their individual districts in November.