Commissioner Gary Woronchak has been re-elected chairman of the Wayne County Commission for the 2013-14 term.
Woronchak, D-Dearborn, was elected at the commission's organizational meeting Jan. 3 to a second term as chair. The 15 members of the Wayne County Commission elect a chair from among themselves at the beginning of each two-year term of office.
Also elected to leadership positions were Commissioner Alisha Bell, D-Detroit, who will serve as vice chair, and Commissioner Jewel Ware, D-Detroit, who was elected vice chair pro tem.
As chairman, Woronchak is responsible for the commission's $9 million budget and its employees, as well as scheduling and presiding over meetings and appointing members to standing committees and special task forces.
Woronchak, 57, is beginning his fifth 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 remarks to commissioners after being re-elected chairman, Woronchak said the commission's top priority in the new term is fixing county government's fiscal problems, which include an accumulated deficit of $160 million and continued overspending despite the county having lost tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue due to property values falling in recent years.
"We can't continue on the path we've been on," Woronchak said. "We can't have anyone thinking there is money hidden somewhere, and that overspending doesn't matter or will be tolerated.
"We can't have elected officials not talking to each other, or suing each other, we need all of us to come together to adjust Wayne County to the new fiscal reality.
"We owe it to the people of Wayne County to get our fiscal house in order - finally, and once and for all," Woronchak said.
While he said the commission will work with the executive branch and County Executive Robert Ficano to address challenges facing the county, Woronchak added, "we must never lose sight of our function and duty as the legislative branch to be the check and balance, to always question and, when necessary, to challenge the administration."
"The powers and duties of this commission are listed clearly in the county charter, and are granted to us by the people of Wayne County who adopted that charter," Woronchak said. "Legislative oversight is a vital function. We will regard it as such, and insist that others within county government do as well."
Wayne County Commission Chairman Gary Woronchak makes remarks after being elected chairman at the Jan. 4, 2011 organizational meeting of the commission. Gary was re-elected by his fellow commissioners to be chair of the commission for the 2013-14 term.
This will take you
to the Wayne County Commission website, where you'll learn about
basic functions, and have links to learn about commissioners and
Once you're there, click on District 13 to learn more about Gary.