By ZEINAB NAJM
HEIGHTS — Dearborn Heights voters re-elected Mayor Daniel Paletko and voted three new faces onto the City Council, including one who was not actively seeking the post after a death in the family in July.
In the council race, Denise Maxwell finished first receiving 4,163 votes, Bill Bazzi received 3,940 votes, Tom Wencel received 3,881 votes and incumbent Robert Constan received 3,873 votes.
Wencel announced in September he would not actively campaign leading up to the election after his daughter Jamie unexpectedly died in July. Wencel and his wife, Debbie, began to raise Jamie’s five children ages 5 and 18 months, and 4, 5 and 9 years old, and began the effort to gain custody of their grandchildren.
Wencel said after the election that he would assume his council seat in January.
“This is a responsibility I will not take lightly,” he said, and that he is “looking forward to working with other members of city council.”
Paletko received 4,647 votes while challenger Councilwoman Lisa Hicks-Clayton received 3,504 votes in the Nov. 7 general election.
“I am very honored to have been re-elected as mayor of Dearborn Heights by the residents,” Paletko said. “I consider it an honor to be the mayor of Dearborn Heights. I am grateful to the residents for their support.
“I am proud to be part of this great community, and proud of the progress we have made over the past several years. I’m looking forward to continuing my service to our residents and our businesses as we continue to build on the great things we have already put in place.”
“I would like to express my most sincere appreciation and gratitude to the residents of Dearborn Heights for their outpouring of support and words of encouragement during my campaign for mayor,” Hicks-Clayton said. “I thank everyone who contributed, whether is was monetary, giving of your personal time, and for voting.
“Although the campaign fell short, we still won because, I know, we will continue to work together in the best interest of our community. It is my honor to continue to serve you as your city councilwoman.”
Bazzi thanked the residents and congratulated his peers on also winning seats on the council and their hard work during the election.
“I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the Dearborn Heights residents, family, friends and volunteers who have been a pillar of support,” he said. “I am moved by your passion and commitment in this collective effort. I am honored and look forward to serving the residents of Dearborn Heights, as one of your newly elected city council members,” he said.
Council candidates finishing out of the running were Mo Baydoun with 3,590 votes, Lisa Oshanski with 3,378 votes, Jeff Mallad with 3,066 votes, and Thomas Berry — who announced his withdrawal from the race after the deadline and did not campaign — with 2,079 votes.
“I was very honored and humbled to win re-election to my seat on the Dearborn Heights City Council,” Constan said. “I look forward to working with the newly elected members of the city council and the mayor, clerk and treasurer over the next four years.”
City Treasurer John Riley II and City Clerk Walter Prusiewicz ran unopposed.
Paletko did not return calls by publication.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])