Wayne County Commission District 15

Choose one candidate. Wayne County commissioners serve two-year terms and receive an annual salary of $61,800.

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  • Candidate picture

    Patrick D. O'Connell

  • Candidate picture

    Joseph Palamara

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Biographical Information

What do you view as Wayne County’s most pressing problems, and how would you start to solve them?

How do you feel about the actions taken by the administration of Wayne County Executive Warren Evans both in requesting a declaration of financial emergency to deal with the county’s financial situation and in the steps taken to address the financial emergency, such as through employee and retiree healthcare changes?

What efforts would you pursue to improve Wayne County’s financial situation?

What can Wayne County do to reverse its ongoing population loss?

What can Wayne County do to improve employment possibilities across the county?

Which county-provided services need the most improvement, and what suggestions can you offer for making them better?

Aside from its people, what are Wayne County’s greatest assets and how can the county better use or market them?

Many county officials have complained in recent months about a loss of talent from the ranks of Wayne County government. How would you make Wayne County government a more attractive option for quality candidates in light of the county’s financial challenges?

Do you support the union-led petition effort to reduce the base pay of Wayne County commissioners from $61,800 to $45,000? Why or why not?

How would your policies help to fix aging infrastructure in Wayne?

What is your position on outfitting the county sheriff’s department with body cameras?

Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?

With reports showing Michigan behind on education, what role if any do you see the county taking to improve education?

What is the county’s role in assisting financially struggling cities?

Has the county taken appropriate steps to prevent gun violence?

Do you support the proposed millage to fund regional transit in metro Detroit? Why or why not?

Do you support and will you appear at campaign events with your party’s presidential nominee?

Have you ever filed for personal bankruptcy? If so, explain.

Have you ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor? If so, explain.

City of residence Ecorse
Age 54
Family Two sons Richard and Avery
Education Graduate of Schafer High
Vehicles owned 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Professional Experience Business 0wner , Insurance Agent
Race/ethnicity Caucasian
Incumbent? false
Police and Fire service in our local communities and of course our roads and infrastructure. We need to work with our State on funding options and also with our representatives in securing what available grant money that may be available.
It seems that retiree healthcare and pensions are putting a strain on so many city municipals that we need to look at the healthcare and retirement plans that follow the private sector.
Again here we would look at retirement pension, no one should retire making the same or more a year than they did working. We need to look at vacant properties that can be sold and rehabbed so we can build up our tax revenue.
Create economic and job opportunities for the residents. Improve roads and infrastructure, bring our crime rate down and improve on the services that we still have.
Tax incentive to businesses that commit to our County.
Mental Health. Better facilities for long term stays for drug addition and suicide attempts instead of a week in and your out.
Parks, shopping centers, museum's, music venues we have it all. Marketing not our big problem, making it safe and inviting is what we need to work on.
Candidate did not provide a response.
Yes. I would like to see the the pay increase that went into effect reversed.
Candidate did not provide a response.
I support the use of body cams.
Candidate did not provide a response.
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Yes. Better transportation services bring in more jobs.
Yes. I will also appear at campaign events to support the nominee.
Yes. Medical bills caused debt.
City of residence Grosse Ile
Age 62
Family Married 37 years to Aline Palamara; Daughter Lauren Palamara Westerdale; Son Lance J. Palamara; Daughter Samantha R. Palamara and two grandchildren, Luke Westerdale (10) and Max Westerdale (6).
Education Graduate of all of the following: Wyandotte Roosevelt High School ('71) Michigan State University (1975) Detroit College of Law (1985)
Vehicles owned Own 2008 Ford Taurus Lease 2014 Buick Enclave
Professional Experience Attorney - Licensed to practice law in Michigan for over 30 years. Former State Representative for seven terms until term limits took effect in 1998. Current and past Board Member on numerous Boards of Directors.
Political Experience State Representative (1985 - 1998) County Commissioner (1999 - Present)
Race/ethnicity Caucasian
Incumbent? true
The most pressing problems facing Wayne County over the last several years have all related to county finances. Plunging property values since 2008 have drastically reduced the county's revenue stream, and combined with the problem of completing the county jail, this has led to unprecedented measures being taken to right the financial ship. This past year, I became Chairman of the county's Budget Committee for the first time. Working with a new administration, the county's finances have now been stabilized, its credit rating vastly improved, and over a hundred million dollars in deficits eliminated. The priorities of public safety, public health and senior citizen services were emphasized.
State law allows the County Executive to ask the State of Michigan to review the county's finances to determine if a financial emergency exists; and whether or not a declaration of financial emergency may be made. Rather than "nibble around the edges" of addressing the county's precarious financial situation, the Executive chose to deal with the tough decisions, that were inevitable, sooner rather than later. Because there are so many millions of dollars spent on legacy costs, the county had no choice but to make the difficult decisions themselves, OR have an emergency financial manager, OR a a bankruptcy judge, make those decisions. I prefer that people who are elected make the tough calls.
Job growth and economic development throughout all of Wayne County, especially in the Aerotropolis region, are efforts that should be pursued to improve the county's financial situation. This would lead to a growing tax base and improved county employees should share in the sacrifices made, particularly as it relates to health care. I have been advocating this for many months, and my efforts on this matter were well known and made revenues. On the expense side of the equation, all county very public by virtue of a column written by the Free Press' Brian Dickerson in April of this year. This is in addition to my sponsoring of a 10% pay cut for Commissioners several years ago still in effect.
The best way to reverse population loss is to encourage young families to remain here, or if they're not here yet, to move here. This is done by offering a great educational system, a strong infrastructure (like roads) system, and quality of life venues (like parks) that are attractive to people of all ages and from all walks of life. It's always easier to get somebody to stay, rather than encourage somebody to move here, We need to focus on reasons to encourage people to want to stay here.
Have a competitive tax base that encourages economic investment. The Aerotropolis region near Metropolitan airport has the land and infrastructure to be the leader in job growth. Working with people from all over America that learn about this untapped potential, should spur employment possibilities for residents from all over Wayne County.This effort to market Aerotropolis has recently stepped up big time to a national audience. Hopefully, those efforts will bear fruit.
The permit department needs the most improvement. Permit applications are taking far too long to process. Roads also need improvement, not because of the people who work there, but because they can be made better by having the State of Michigan return our fair share of road tax dollars back to where they cam from - - here in Wayne County. Veteran's and senior citizen services could also be improved, and placing an emphasis on assisting these people is money well invested. All of these areas that need improvement can be made better by placing a stronger emphasis on delivering the services in a timely, friendly and efficient manner.
The county's greatest assets are its reputation as being home to the Automobile industry, its world renown Airport and its majestic natural beauty of being on an international waterway. Any campaigns to market Wayne County should abundantly feature all of these attributes, and its people. Wayne County should be the Pride of Middle America, the region that encompasses some of "The Greatest Hometowns on the Face of the Earth". We need to be proud and act proud of who we are, where we are from - - and that will convince others to look a lot more closely at what they are missing.
It's natural for people to look out for their own best interests. Wayne County needs to be competitive with other units of government as a means to attract, and retain, high quality employees.
I do not. As the people who are responsible for providing oversight for a $1.6 billion budget, Commissioners have a responsibility to provide the proper "check and balance" to other branches of government.
Try to return as much of the tax dollars from where they came from. Downriver, as a whole, should get back their fair share to re-invest in Downriver infrastructure.
If the costs of purchasing the cameras would be covered by grant dollars, I would consider it. I would not want to further exacerbate the Sheriff's budget by adding items like cameras, storage, monitoring etc. that we can't afford.
No. Should be a state issue, not a county issue. Let the people decide.
Let the education experts take the lead roles on education. The county cannot be everything to and for everybody.
The county's main role is to make sure the Delinquent Tax Revolving Fund (DTRF) remains a viable mechanism for cities to utilize during their times of need. The county's role is to make certain the DTRF remains healthy.
Gun violence is a national epidemic, not unique to Wayne County. The issue is a national one.
Not unless, or until, its guaranteed that Downriver will get its fair share of tax dollars back to fund Downriver transit.