Former city controller returning to work in Warren

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published August 19, 2019

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WARREN — Warren’s got a new city controller, and he has more than 30 years of related experience, including 23 overseeing the city’s budget and books.

Rick Fox was expected to return to his old job effective Aug. 19, after press time. He was tapped by Mayor Jim Fouts to replace City Controller Rob Maleszyk, who resigned to take a post with the Grosse Pointe Public School System.

Fox worked for the Fouts administration for about two years before he left in 2009 to take a three-year contract as the city manager in Oak Park. He was lured out of retirement after he got a call from former longtime Warren City Councilman George Dimas, who now works as the city’s human resources and risk management director. The conversation led to a meeting with the mayor.

Fox worked at City Hall under former Mayor Ted Bates and as a city controller under former mayors Ron Bonkowski and Mark Steenbergh. He didn’t always see eye to eye with Fouts, who at the time sat on the City Council. They also disagreed from time to time after Fouts was elected as mayor.  

But Fouts said the depth of Fox’s experience makes him an ideal fit, with large projects looming and a new-look City Council set to take hold of the city’s purse strings.

“It goes without saying that he and I had some differences previously. We were on opposite sides,” Fouts said. “I think his experience and qualifications clearly outweigh any differences we may have had. He has years of experience and is proven in what he can do.”

Fox was the city controller when Warren built its new Community Center and City Hall in the early 2000s. He also oversaw funding for improvements to roads and sidewalks, and at the Warren Wastewater Treatment Plant.

As a political appointee, the city controller serves at-will for Fouts, or anyone serving as Warren’s mayor in the future.  

“The bottom line is he’s accomplished a lot,” Fouts said. “I feel at this time we need an experienced individual. I look forward to working with him. I want to praise Rob Maleszyk. He served the city well. I wish him well in his new challenge.”

Fox said he’s not concerned about working with a new City Council comprised of a majority of political newcomers.

“I think that one of my good points is I can easily get along with the new council people and I can present information to them. I think in Warren I can do that with the new council members and get them acclimated as far as adopting the budget and other items that pertain to the finances of the city, to get things approved and keep the city moving forward,” Fox said. “It’s going to be a good change. I don’t see it as a real negative that we’re going to have a new council.”

Warren City Councilman Keith Sadowski worked with Fox for about six years after his election in 2003.

“I felt Rick was always a very smart, very good businessman,” Sadowski said. “He ran a very disciplined department. I always appreciated the wealth of knowledge he had with the city.

“It’s a tremendous amount of institutional knowledge coming back. On top of that, he’s a good negotiator when it comes to contracts. I think it’s a good thing,” Sadowski said.

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