The Mayor Honoring Two Council Members Or Is It?

img_8713I guess Council members ‘Horvath and Kosinski’ must be leaving the council. Why else would the Mayor be honoring them both for their service? He’s never done this for any Council members in the past. Those who have left in recent history have had 12 to 18 years on the council, but our Mayor never ever had a party for them. Not a party in the middle of the day and not using the Recreation Department to answer the phones for those who RSVP.

No, I’ve never seen this before. I didn’t hear any announcement of them leaving.  If they are leaving, they need to inform the council so they can find interested people to fill those seats. The Council has to vote to fill those two seats. Those who would fill the seats could run when the appointed term is up. These two seats are up in 2017. So,why are we having this great luncheon? Well, could it be to thank them for all their YES votes? I don’t know. Oh wait, is it to thank them for their future service to the Mayor? Maybe the yes votes from them both on the 911 dispatch outsourcing?  Maybe it’s for that very important vote that the Council may make in the near future… The vote on his pension.  Oh, Mr. Mayor did you think I’d forgotten the issue of your pension? I wrote about it years ago and with all that’s being said by those inside City Hall on a day-to-day basis, it’s even more important to write about it now.

Come on our very own Councilman Kosinski is the chairman of the Pension Board who you Mr. Mayor are going before to get that big fat pension you want. No matter if a few rules are violated to give it to you. You know that pesky thing called laws/rules that all the rest of us have to follow, but you just have to wave your hand or whatever and it goes away. For those of you who didn’t read about it years back and are interested in the subject, this is what the Mayor would like to happen. The Mayor has 42 years of service in our City. He was a council member before he became the Mayor. Oh, but hang on there’s a rule in our City that states if you leave or have a break in service you can’t calculate your pension under your new salary. You see dear taxpayer the Mayor wants to collect a pension based on 42 years of service under the salary that he’s earning now. The pension board won’t do a pension for 42 years, but for the sake of this article they might for 30 years.

So how does this rule come into play with the Mayor? Well, he left the council to go to Lansing to become a State Rep. He was in Lancing for 10 months a clear break in service. He came back to be appointed as our Mayor and then ran for the position the following year. That’s thousands of taxpayer dollars that will go to him if the pension board and maybe even the council vote to ignore, forget, break the rule for our great Mayor. His years of service should not be combined… will they be? Well, it’s the Mayor we are talking about here and he gets what he wants doesn’t he? Now maybe it’s just by chance that he’s having this luncheon for the president of the pension board/councilman and for another council member. Is it? When has the Mayor ever done one kind act for any member of the council? Just because he want’s to honor two members of council who aren’t leaving or at least they haven’t announced they are. So why now?

Just for the record, I’m not saying the Mayor shouldn’t honor these two individuals I’m not saying that they haven’t served the City for years. No that’s not my intention at all, but do you think Mr. Mayor that you might like to wait first until they are leaving the City Council to honor them. Second wait for your pension issue to be resolved considering one of the very people you are honoring is the chairman of the pension board and both are City Council members. Why would you want to leave anything to chance for people like myself to start questioning why you are doing this. Mr. Mayor wouldn’t you think you might be putting them in a horrible position if they would have to say NO to you. Just speaking for me I wouldn’t want to be beholding to you or anyone else and they shouldn’t be either.

Honor these two council members all you want after your pension issue is resolved. That Mr. Mayor would be the proper thing to do. In the past, if this would have happened with the same circumstances councilwoman Horvath would have been pulling her hair out. She would have been the first to say the optics of this are just WRONG.



What or How Much Should We Know About EDRO?

In a previous post, A City Ordinance for Pensions Now This Is A Thing I asked who this is for? Still, not sure who this ordinance is for, but I do have minutes to a Pension Board meeting. Follow this link to read 7-26-16ggmeeting-minutes-2 I will highlighting some portions of the meeting minutes for this post.

Pension Board Dearborn Heights

Mayor Pension Dearborn Heights

EDRO? (Eligible Domestic Relations Order) so what is this I asked that very question and started to look into what it is and what does this have to do with pensions and the Mayor? After all, I’ve never heard of it so thanks to this thing called the internet you can find all kinds of information. I know Councilman Kosinski doesn’t think we know anything, but what we don’t know we can find out.


Reading from the minutes the legal response to a question asked by Mayor Paletko was how the EDRO recoupment amount increases if the plan participant retires after the age of 60?  Good question I’m not a CPA so I had to read again from information on the internet.









This might be the answer as to how,


No Councilman Kosinski I’m not a lawyer or a CPA and neither are you this, however, is very straight forward from what I can see. You can read everything there is on EDRO Click Here

I don’t know who the new pension ordinance will benefit or even if it will benefit anyone. I do know this is the second meeting about pensions in the past couple of weeks. The Mayor is questioning the pension board and our City Council is meeting to make a new ordinance relating to pensions. Sooner or later this will come before a public meeting and then we will all know what it’s about.

Homeowners slam city for “shady” business development

An article written in the AMERICAN ARAB NEWS,  by Hassan Khalifel on 9/22/2016:

DEARBORN HEIGHTS………..Following the rezoning of a residential block on Ford Road between Inkster and N. John Daly to a commercial-residential area, homeowners living on Doxtator, a street behind the re-designated properties, say they oppose the redevelopment because the city carried it out illegally.

In March, Mohamed Sobh, the city’s building and engineering director, said the residential area will be converted into a central commercial zone, allowing a mixture of residential and commercial properties to be built. He added the commission will limit the types of business that could be erected there.

Sameeh Kawar, a surgeon living in a multi-million-dollar mansion on Doxtator Street, regarded as one of the richest streets in Dearborn Heights, said most of his neighbors are very upset that businesses are being built right behind their backyards, affecting their homes’ values.

What is troubling them is that the Planning Commission, which handles rezoning and site plans, has not notified the residents of the development, he said.  The commission is required by law to mail letters to nearby residents after a rezoning has been considered, giving homeowners the opportunity to ask questions, voice concerns or object to a project before it is voted on in a City Council meeting.  Kawar said his neighbors have considered taking action against the city.

He said residents are concerned that truck traffic, pollution, noise and rats from the shops will impact their neighborhood. He added that a boost in activity could increase crime on the wealthy street and that he has a pool in his backyard, which his family will not be able to use because of privacy concerns.  However, most concerning to Kawar and his neighbors is that almost “overnight” and without notice, the city approved the rezoning, then real estate agents began buying the modest homes facing Ford Road for a cheap price and sold them to private developers for almost $1 million.  He said the residents also fear the city is making deals under the table with private developers to expedite the development process.

Construction to build these businesses has already begun.  “There’s something wrong here — something…playing in the dark,” Kawar added.

Imad Sabbagh, Kawar’s neighbor, said that while he defends the real estate agents’ rights to sell homes as part of their business, he wished he could vote against the rezoning.  This is not the first time Dearborn Heights’ residents were unable to protest a project in their town, he said.

In previous years, Sabbagh received a notice that a gas station would be built near his business. He attempted to object to it at a City Council meeting, in front of the mayor.  “They said this is what they proposed and this is what they’re gonna get,” Sabbagh said. “We went and spoke our mind and we ended up saying, ‘they’re bigger than us; they’re going to do it whether we like it or not.’ And they went ahead and did it.”

He added that he noticed the block was rezoned about four or five years ago, way before it was explicit, when he began seeing commercial trucks parked in the driveways of the houses on Ford Road.  Parking commercial trucks at residential homes is against Dearborn Heights ordinances.

Gus Mareskas, a longtime resident of Doxtator Street, said he is infuriated that his city would not consult taxpayers of a major development that will directly affect their living conditions.  “Somebody is making big dough,” he said. “Why rezone the area without asking anybody?”

Dearborn Heights Councilman Dave Abdallah, a real estate agent, said while the rezoning went into effect prior to his election, redevelopment was considered due to safety concerns. Cars backing out of the driveways leading to Ford Road could cause accidents with oncoming traffic.  For that reason, he said the city decided a mixed commercial designation was a “much more appropriate use” of the block.

As for the unusually high sale price of the homes, Abdallah said prior to the rezoning, the homes were on the market for an average of $200,000. After the rezoning, the prices almost quadrupled due, along with high demand, to great interest in opening businesses in a new strip mall and concentrated communities.  Dearborn Heights’ Mayor Dan Paletko told The AANews there was no attempt from the city to force the project on unaware residents. He said he has no evidence to believe the city is profiting from the project.  “It was natural and everybody expected at some point in time that the rest of Ford Road would turn into a commercial property,” he added.

Paletko also said developers of the new shops were required to file permits and submit building plans that had to be approved by the city’s planning commission.  He added that one of the developers had been critical of the city for imposing strict zoning codes.  At the time of the rezoning years ago, the mayor said a notification would have been placed in a local paper.  Mareskas said such notice would have been too inconspicuous and impractical for residents to read.

According to Paletko, when the developer requested a variance in the plan in recent months that placed a condition to build the shops on the back-end of the properties, so that parking spaces were located at the front end, similar to neighboring plazas, the Zoning Board of Appeals sent out a notice to residents regarding the change.  Paletko said the city is working on getting permission to limit access to Doxtator Street for the residents’ protection.  He also said it’s his understanding that a wall or other barrier will separate the neighborhood from the businesses.  In March, the mayor said he hoped to see the area become a downtown Dearborn Heights.

We have ordinances in our city, books of them.  The ordinance people are in the midst of doing “sweeps” to get uniformity and basic ordinances followed.  If ordinances are questioned by the residents, anything other than the clean up basics, the complaints are avoided.  Even after the sweeps, some people realized the ordinance dept. was not equal in their efforts throughout the neighborhoods.

Complaints featured in the past, like a business offering/performing services not allowed, expired licenses, or homes that have been purchased and turned into boarding homes that are not allowed in the city, or the residents of these homes involved with illegal or dangerous activities.  I have seen first hand how the Ordinance Dept. avoids ticketing or even discussing those complaints.  Good luck to the people on Doxtator dealing with decisions made by Mr. Sobh, ordinance representatives. or the administration.