Former councilman checks back into hospital, replacement takes over

Sunday Times Newspapers

TAYLOR — Former City Councilman Herman Ramik is taking it easy after being hospitalized again last week after experiencing strokelike symptoms, while his replacement took part in Tuesday’s council meeting.

Ramik had a stroke March 1, but said he didn’t realize it at the time. After consulting with doctors, he announced March 12 that he was stepping down from the council.

On Wednesday, however, he didn’t wait to experience the blurry vision, “funny” speech and instability on his feet like before, and got himself into to the hospital, where he underwent tests.

Rick Sollars, who was unseated from the council in the November election, was the next-highest vote-getter and was appointed by the council 4-2 on Tuesday to replace Ramik.

Voting in favor were council members John Delo, Jacklyn Molner, Dennis Stapleton and Suzanne Weycker; Councilwomen Jill Brandana and Cheryl Burke voted against. The split typifies what has become a pattern since the November election, with the former four routinely opposing the latter two, as well as Mayor Jeffrey Lamarand.

Ramik said Thursday that all three specialists asked him about stress, and when he told them about the events of the last few months — which have included a recall effort against him and Delo, Molner, Stapleton and Weycker — they advised him that the situation probably isn’t good for his health.

“They said next time the stroke could be even worse, and there could serious problems,” Ramik said in recalling his reasons for resigning his council seat.

He said he didn’t suffer a full-blown stroke March 1, but gave thanks to his wife, Jeanette, for acting quickly.

“As soon as she saw me, she knew something was wrong,” he said.

The recall doesn’t bother him — “I’ve never run from a good fight,” he said — but at age 60, he was inclined to trust doctors’ judgment on the possible effects of the other issues, such as the battles over the city attorney replacement that led to the recall effort.

But deciding to leave the council was difficult.

“I’ve been trying to represent the citizens since 1993 and look what happens,” said Ramik, a former city police officer.

He’s pleased at the return of Sollars to the council, saying, “(he) would have been one of my choices.”

Sollars, meanwhile, says he’s excited to be back.

“I hope to bring a little stability to the council,” he said.

Regarding the split that has developed, Sollars said, “The campaigns are over. These are critical items for the city of Taylor. We need to bear down and put the political nonsense aside.

He dismissed the perception of some residents that he would be rejoining the “team” of former Mayor Cameron Priebe.

“The team we all represent is the city of Taylor,” Sollars said.

Although a two-time council member, he never has been elected. He was appointed in 2001 and 2007 and ran in 2005 and last year.

“I’m not going to pass up the opportunity to help improve our community,” he said. “I want to bring my professional abilites to Taylor. “We’ve go to re-lay the foundation.”

Sollars owns three manufacturing companies in Romulus and an office in Tulsa and said he has a “good relationship” with the mayor and most of the council members.

Ramik, meanwhile said he will stay away for a little while but will be back.

“I can say what I want now and raise Cain as a citizen. They’ll see me sitting there in the audience and think, ‘What is Butch Ramik doing up there today?’

“I just want to thank the people who entrusted me with helping run their city. It was an honor. I have a lot of respect for the city of Taylor and will continue to do so.”