Paiz resigns from Library Board

By: April Lehmbeck | Advertiser Times | Published May 15, 2015

HARPER WOODS — City Councilwoman Veronica Paiz resigned from her post on the Harper Woods Library Board, which ended the need to hold a hearing on incompatible offices during the May 4 City Council meeting.

The hearing had been scheduled to discuss Paiz’s desire to remain on both the City Council and the Library Board despite being informed that those are incompatible offices. Sitting as a member of both bodies would be a violation of the city charter, according to city officials. 

City Manager Randolph Skotarczyk asked the council to remove the two items related to the incompatible offices discussion from the agenda May 4.

“There’s been a resolution to this,” Skotarczyk said during the meeting. “We received a resignation from Councilperson Paiz at 2 o’clock today from the Library Board position, so this hearing is no longer necessary.”

Paiz, who served as Library Board president, had questioned whether they were incompatible offices during a previous meeting.

In an email, she said she didn’t know when she took the appointment to fill the council seat left vacant when Dan Palmer was elected to the 32-A District Court judge’s post that council members only served as nonvoting, appointed representatives to commissions.

After taking the council post, she discovered that another Library Board member would be resigning sometime in the spring. This was after the board had already lost Vice President Terri Larrew, who died in 2014.

With the board losing the knowledge that longtime members bring to the table, Paiz was concerned about the board and library.

“My take is that the library is an exceedingly important part of this city, and a board upheaval and resulting flux while we have a fairly new director could be detrimental to library and city leadership,” she said in an email.

She also considered that issues like the library budget and major personnel matters would not have been coming from the Library Board to council during her appointed council term, which made her question whether it was incompatible for her to continue temporarily in that post. Her council seat will be on the ballot in the November election.

She felt her continued service “would be in the best interests of our library and Harper Woods,” she said in the email.

Instead of debating the issue further, she chose to resign from the board before the council meeting.

“I’d like to thank our Library Board and especially our library director, Mary Howard, and City Council and the (general) city as a whole for indulging me. This was something really important to me,” Paiz said during the May 4 meeting.

“I think it’s very important to have some stability on the boards,” she said. She added that it had been a tough conversation, but she felt it was a good one.

As for the future, the city could pursue changing the city charter on this and other matters.

“For years, there has been a lot of talk about updating and clarifying our city charter; indeed, just four years ago, the city asked Harper Woods voters to approve a charter amendment,” Paiz said in an email. “At the least, I believe it was worthwhile to restart this conversation.”

She also noted a need for more people to step up and serve in the city.

“Community service and volunteerism are important,” she said in an email. “I believe small successes lead to greater goods. Having served Harper Woods residents for seven years as a member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and almost three years as a library trustee, I am thankful to have had a part in some of their successes.

“When there is much to complain about, working to achieve the small successes does in fact lead to the greater good for Harper Woods,” she added.

She said that recruiting people for openings on boards and commissions in the city is a challenge.

“It’s difficult to recruit members,” she said. “As an example, there are three council positions open for election in November, and only three of us applied to be candidates,” Paiz said.

During the May 4 council meeting, Howard thanked Paiz for her service.

“I wish her well in her pursuits, and I do want to say that on behalf of myself, the entire staff, our volunteers and library patrons, we will miss your leadership,” she said.

“I just want to let everyone know that she’s done a very, very wonderful job and has been an extremely great person to work with,” Howard said. “You’re all lucky to have her.”