By ZEINAB NAJM
HEIGHTS — City Clerk Walter Prusiewicz and Treasurer John Riley II both tendered their resignations recently, with Riley’s last day being June 29.
Prusiewicz said he would be more than willing to stay on to help in a smaller role for the upcoming elections if the council or administration would allow him because he could do work from home because of coronavirus restrictions and concerns.
Prusiewicz spoke about his resignation during a May 13 city budget meeting, but has not said when his last day would be and has not submitted a letter of resignation.
During the meeting, Councilmen Ray Muscat, Robert Constan and Dave Abdallah said they didn’t want to see Prusiewicz leave his clerk position.
Councilwoman Lisa Hicks-Clayton thanked him for his service to the city.
“I don’t want to leave,” Prusiewicz said. “This is not — I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve been up and discussing with my wife and my son. There’s nothing I want to do and I want to stay on and help the city because those of you that have been around a while. I came here in 2011 and the entire clerk’s office was gone.
“This is not easy. I don’t need accolades. I really appreciate all the kinds words, but I’m not looking for accolades.
“What is going on in elections is people don’t realize how much more is being putting on clerks, and I’m not the only clerk that feels this way. There’s a lot of rumblings with what is being put on our backs and so forth and so on.
“My discussions with Wayne County — I think they’re going to drive a lot of good people out of the business unless we have a serious look at the way we do things.”
The city posted the clerk position on its Facebook page with requirements and rules on how to apply. City Council members will make the appointment by a majority vote and that person will serve until a successor is elected.
“However, due to statutory and City Charter requirements related to elections, the general election for this purpose will be held on November 2, 2021,” the post read.
To be considered for the vacant position, applicants must be a two-year Heights resident and registered voter. A letter of interest and resume must be emailed by 3 p.m. June 18 to the Human Resources Department.
Evaluation will consist of a short presentation by the applicant to the City Council during a meeting at 5 p.m. June 22, and a vote will be taken at a June 23 council meeting.
Initially, Riley announced his retirement in December with an end date of April 30, but he postponed his last day due to the coronavirus.
Riley had to be temporarily reappointed by the City Council before he was able to continue serving in his role that he’s had for 26 years.
After taking applications and conducting interviews publicly online, Zouher Abdel-Hak was appointed interim city treasurer by a 4-2 vote until the Nov. 3 special election on the general election ballot. He said he will not run for election in November.
Abdel-Hak owns N.J. Diamonds in Dearborn and is a familiar face at council meetings, speaking about issues within the city.
Constan and Hicks-Clayton were among the applicants for the interim post, but Hicks-Clayton withdrew her application due to court rulings relating to petition deadlines. When the deadline was extended, Hicks-Clayton was put back on the ballot stating that her application remained withdrawn.
Constan was unable to vote during the process because he was being considered for the interim role.
Constan was the only person who declared for the treasurer seat in the Nov. 3 special election until Hicks-Clayton announced her candidacy June 5.
If either council member wins, he or she will be required to step down from the council and a new council member will be appointment by the council, according to the city charter.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])