By Charles Sercombe
For 39 years Hamtramck’s own Raymond Wojtowicz has held the office of Wayne County Treasurer.
That came to an abrupt end recently when Wojtowicz was forced to retire, with a year still remaining in his term, to ensure the benefits he earned those many years remain intact.
Wayne County Executive Warren Evans had warned there will be upcoming deep slashes in the county budget, including benefits.
A number of county employees and officials have opted out, including Wojtowicz’s chief deputy, David Szymanski.
A three-member panel is now set to name a replacement for Wojtowicz to fill out the remaining term.
There are eight candidates vying for the position, which includes Szymanski and State Sen. Bert Johnson (who represents Hamtramck), Phil Cavanagh (a former State Rep. from Redford), Beverly Kindle-Walker, a perennial candidate for treasurer, James Williams, a former auditor with the state Treasury, Richard Hathaway, chief assistant to Prosecutor Kym Worthy, D. Etta Wilcoxon and George Paffendorf.
The panel choosing who should take the position includes Worthy, Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett and Chief Probate Judge Freddie Burton.
Whoever is picked will have to run for election for the position next year.
Wojtowicz said his choice for the position is his former chief deputy, David Szymanski.
“He knows the system,” Wojtowicz said. “Dave is the most logical choice, and I hope and pray the appointing authorities keep that in mind.”
Wojtowicz said that under his and Szymanski’s leadership the county was able to keep thousands of homeowners facing tax foreclosure in their homes.
“He (Szymanski) worked for the common cause of the people,” Wojtowicz said.
Before being elected as treasurer, Wojtowicz was the mayor of Hamtramck. He has been a lifelong resident of Hamtramck. Now at age 86, he laughed when asked what he would do in retirement.
“I have no plans, but I do have to watch my steps,” he said, conceding that the aging process has caught up with him.