Duzyj remains on candidate list sent to county

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published May 1, 2019




WARREN — Rumors of Andrey Duzyj’s demise as a candidate for the Warren city clerk job were greatly exaggerated.

Hours after learning that his name was to be left off the list of certified candidates for various city government offices forwarded to Macomb County elections staff by Warren City Clerk Sonja Buffa April 29, Duzyj learned that Warren City Attorney Ethan Vinson had opined on his candidacy for the second time in a span of 11 days.

Warren’s clerk, mayor, treasurer and all seven seats on the City Council will be on the ballot this year. Vinson previously issued an opinion declaring Duzyj, currently representing part of Warren as an elected member of the Macomb County Board of Commissioners, ineligible due to a provision of the city charter.

Section 4.3(b) of the Warren charter includes language stating that no person should “simultaneously hold an elective city office and an elective county and school district office.” It also dictates, “No person who holds an elective county or school district office shall be eligible to qualify for or to assume an elective city office to which he has been elected, until he first resigns from the elective county or school office held by him.”

Vinson’s original opinion concluded, “Plainly, a current elected official of a county or school district is not eligible to run for office within city government until he or she resigns his or her current position.”

That changed April 30, when Vinson issued his second opinion addressing Duzyj’s candidacy.

“Since issuing the opinion, I became aware of two prior elections involving a county commissioner who was a candidate for the elected position of mayor,” Vinson submitted.

Former Warren Mayor Mark Steenbergh ran for mayor while he served on the county board in 1991, and again in 1995, when he was the board’s chair.

Vinson added that while the charter bars anyone holding elected county or school district office from qualifying for or assuming an elective city office until he or she resigns from the county or school office, the city “historically” has not followed that reading.

“In light of the past precedent, I recommend the position of inclusivity, and not barring the person from candidacy at this time,” Vinson concluded.

Duzyj, a Democrat representing District 1 on the board, had vowed to fight any attempt to keep him off the ballot.

“I’m glad they came to their senses, and I think I shall continue pushing for good government at the Clerk’s Office in the city of Warren,” Duzyj said.

He joins Buffa, Donna Kaczor Caumartin, Joe Hunt, Warren City Councilman Keith Sadowski and Alan Shepperd as candidates seeking election to the next four-year term as Warren’s city clerk. Barring any challenges, they’ll appear on the ballot for the primary election Aug. 6.

Buffa said April 29 that only one candidate who filed to run for office in the Warren city elections and did not officially withdraw was excluded: Marilyn Williams, who had filed in the District 4 Warren City Council race, reportedly had an insufficient number of signatures on her nominating petition.

Several other candidates withdrew ahead of the 4 p.m. April 26 deadline to do so.