Hazel Park mayor resigns to follow other pursuits

Parisi will be first female mayor in city history, council has vacancy

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published June 17, 2014

For more than 10 years, the same group of elected officials have overseen the policy-making process in the city of Hazel Park. Now that’s about to change.

Mayor Jack Lloyd resigned June 9. He served on council for 25 years, and as mayor since 2002. At press time, it was expected that Mayor Pro Tem Jan Parisi would be sworn in as his replacement at the meeting June 24.

Parisi will be the first female mayor in the history of Hazel Park.

With Parisi as mayor, and Jeffrey Keeton, Andy LeCureaux and Mike Webb continuing as councilmen, there will now be a vacancy on the four-man council that will need to be filled.

“By charter, we get to appoint someone,” LeCureaux said. “We can appoint a mayor, even, but we’re not going to do that.”

In his letter of resignation, Lloyd explained he’s resigning out of a personal desire to spend more time with family and friends.

“I am very proud of the many good things that have been accomplished over these years, and I hope our city will continue to grow and prosper in the future,” Lloyd wrote. “I have proudly served the city of Hazel Park as your mayor to the best of my ability, and with the best interest of our community always in mind.”

He went on in his letter to thank the “dedicated city employees for their tireless work effort and resilience during this period of economic uncertainty,” and said he deeply respects them for the “dependable, quality services” they continue to provide.

Lloyd leaves council at a time when crime levels in Hazel Park are the lowest they’ve been in decades, property values are starting to rebound, and the financial company Standard & Poor’s has upgraded the city’s bond rating from A- to A+, meaning the city is in a strong position to meet all current financial obligations. State-level policies continue to take their toll on the city, and Hazel Park has had to make substantial cuts, but during his tenure the city has been able to stay solvent and maintain services.

Parisi said it’s with Lloyd’s blessing that she assumes his role in the city. She said she’s a bit nervous but she’s comforted by the fact Lloyd will continue to help guide her.

“Jack and I are very good friends. We’ve always been a team. Whatever we need to do for the city, we do it together,” Parisi said. “These are big shoes I’m filling, but I’m glad Jack said anything I need to know, I can call him or visit him. It’s bittersweet for me to see him leave, so I needed that validation from him. I will refer to him a lot.” 

Parisi described Lloyd, a tall individual, as a “gentle giant” well-loved in the city.

“He’s a very kind and goodhearted person, who cares about all of the people here in Hazel Park,” Parisi said. “We were lucky to have him.”

LeCureaux said Lloyd could’ve been mayor for as long as he wanted.

“He’s a legend in the city,” LeCureaux said. “And it was nice how he always just moved on to work on the next thing. He worked on a lot of tough budgets, but he was able to work both sides.”

Hazel Park City Manager Ed Klobucher shared the same view. He said that Lloyd set a tone for the entire council, where they stayed focused and avoided petty disputes.

“This is the longest intact council in the history of the city, and one of the longest we are aware of in the state,” Klobucher said. “It indicates stability; it indicates satisfaction. It indicates, most of all, a group of five people who kept their disagreements at a policy level and never let it become personal. They’ve been great to work with and work for, from my perspective as city manager.”

Klobucher has known Lloyd for more than 30 years. He said he wishes him well.

With Parisi set to take over as mayor, LeCureaux said he believes in her.

“I have every confidence she will do well,” LeCureaux said. “She was a community activist before she was on council. We’ve all worked together just fine.”

Parisi said she’s ready to take on the challenge.

“These are tough times,” Parisi said. “But if we keep working together, I think we can get things going.”

A farewell party for Jack Lloyd will be held during an open house at Viking Ice Arena from 1-5 p.m. Saturday, June 28. The arena is located at 1555 E. Woodward Heights. For more information, call (248) 546-5700.