Council elevates deputy to fill vacant city clerk position

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published January 11, 2019

 The Warren City Council voted 6-1 Jan. 8 to name Sonja Djurovic Buffa as Warren’s city clerk following the resignation of Paul Wojno.

The Warren City Council voted 6-1 Jan. 8 to name Sonja Djurovic Buffa as Warren’s city clerk following the resignation of Paul Wojno.

Photo provided by Sonja Djurovic Buffa

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WARREN — Sonja Djurovic Buffa is Warren’s new city clerk.

On Jan. 8, members of the Warren City Council voted 6-1 to appoint Djurovic Buffa to the city office vacated this month by newly elected state Sen. Paul Wojno, who resigned as clerk to begin work in Lansing.

Wojno was elected clerk in 2007, and his third and final term was set to expire in November 2019. Buffa, who had served as the city’s deputy clerk, brings almost two decades of experience to an office preparing to deal not only with the looming 2019 city elections, but an influx of newly registered absentee voters as a result of the recent passage of the state’s Proposal 3.

“Definitely a lot to do, with Proposal 3 that just passed, with a lot more people that will be registering to vote, a lot more absentee voters, a lot more people that will be added to the absentee voter list,” Djurovic Buffa said Jan. 9. “It’s going to be a busy year for us.”

Despite her experience, Buffa said in November that she’s not interested in seeking elected office this year. Following her appointment to the post, she reiterated that she’s happy to serve as clerk until the voters decide the election.

Warren’s clerk, mayor, treasurer and all seven City Council seats will be on the ballot this year. The filing deadline is April 23.

At press time, only one candidate — Warren City Councilman Scott Stevens — had officially filed to run for clerk. Several other elected officials — including Councilman Keith Sadowski and District 1 Macomb County Commissioner Andrey Duzyj — have openly expressed interest.

“What we see going on a lot in our city and everywhere, really, in the state and country as well… we’re losing a lot of our institutional memory,” Warren City Councilman Robert Boccomino said. “What Deputy Clerk Sonja Buffa would bring to this is consistency.”

Sadowski supported Boccomino’s motion to make the appointment, and Stevens indicated that he was prepared to nominate Djurovic Buffa as well.

“I think Sonja will do an excellent job,” City Councilwoman Kelly Colegio added.

City Council President Cecil St. Pierre cast the lone “protest” vote against the appointment. In previous discussions, he disagreed with an interpretation of Warren’s city charter offered by legal counsel that would have precluded the appointment of any current elected official — including council members — to another elected position.

“I believe that it should come from the City Council, at least have the opportunity to come from the City Council,” St. Pierre said. “I would like to see a City Council member part of the institution and to have the opportunity to be city clerk.

Historical precedent exists where a deputy clerk was named Warren’s clerk during a city election year. That happened in 1999, after former City Clerk Lynn Armstrong resigned as Warren’s elected clerk to take the job of clerk with the city of St. Clair Shores.

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