Veronica Paiz chosen for council seat

By: April Lehmbeck | Advertiser Times | Published January 23, 2015

HARPER WOODS — Veronica Paiz has been attending City Council meetings and serving on boards and commissions for years, so when a seat on the council opened up, she wanted to step up to serve in a new capacity.

Paiz was chosen as the new City Council member during the Jan. 12 City Council meeting after the council interviewed the two candidates who had thrown their hats in the ring for the seat — Paiz and Tom Jenny. She took her seat for her first meeting Jan. 21.

The seat was left vacant when Dan Palmer left for his new position as 32A District Court judge at the beginning of this month.

“I decided to apply to fill the remainder of Mr. Palmer’s council term because I think it offers me the opportunity to discover how well and how best I can contribute to making and keeping our city a wonderful place to live,” Paiz said in an email.

The vote between the two candidates ended in a narrow 3-2 voteCouncil member Charles Flanagan was absent. 

“Both were excellent candidates,” Council member Cheryl Costantino said.

Paiz has a record of service to the community. Her service includes the library board, parks and recreation advisory board and precinct delegate.

She believes in giving back.

“I have always believed that volunteerism is a wonderful way to learn and, most importantly, a way to positively impact lives,” she said.  “When I was a kid, the Jaycees and Lions Club helped our family, our library was a sanctuary for me, and the parks and rec staff took me in and carted me around with them.

“That’s stuck with me all these decades, and I try to be just as relevant as those people were for me,” she said. “That’s why I serve on our Library Board and our Parks and Rec Advisory Board, and why I’ve been interested in serving on council.”

She and her husband have lived in the city since 1999. When choosing where to make their home, they had been considering Detroit or Harper Woods to be close to her husband’s work.

“The deal-breaker for us was city services,” she said. “We also loved that Harper Woods’ homes and neighborhoods were well-kept and the city (was) attractive and clean, and that the schools were good — we don’t have children, but we think good schools are a sign of community investment — and the proximity to Detroit.

“What’s kept us here are good neighbors, a sense of security and the attentiveness that comes with a small town — wonderful parks and programs, really awesome Little League (with parades), a library that is focused on its residents’ needs, fast and efficient police and fire response, and city administration that is approachable and helpful,” she said. “What’s not to love?”

As for her goals as a council member, she said her short-term goals include expanding communication between the city and its residents.

She wants to encourage greater community participation at City Council meetings.

She also wants to “offer a fresh perspective in addressing the business of taking care of ourselves and our neighbors.”

As for the challenges the city is facing, she said that a major challenge is financial.

“I believe that Harper Woods’ biggest issue at the moment is a reliable revenue source that offers strong cash flow, but that’s an easy thing to say,” she said. “Money, of course, would allow us to better meet our most important responsibilities, including maintaining city services, taking care of both our pensioners and current staff, and stabilizing our infrastructure through community development. In the meantime, we need to find alternative means — that we can all live with — to answer our commitments while keeping our city solvent.”

For her future plans, Paiz said that if she feels that she’s made that positive difference as a council member, she does have plans to run for the seat when it comes up on November’s ballot.