Ramik denies he’s seeking mayor’s job — for now

Sunday Times Newspapers

TAYLOR — Word around town that former City Councilman Herman Ramik actively is seeking the mayor’s job is incorrect, he said Thursday.

City-watching Websites and some residents have said that Ramik is looking to be appointed to the post by the council if an effort to oust current Mayor Jeffrey Lamarand is successful. Ramik resigned from the body in March for health reasons after suffering what he said were the initial symptoms of a stroke.

It’s not as though he has no desire to run the city. He added, however, that he’d be in a much stronger position to do so as a current council member.

“I’ve always wanted to be mayor,” Ramik said of the recent talk. “I’ve never hidden it. The residents have known since 1993. I’ve run for mayor twice.

“But right now my health comes first.”

He believes Lamarand is behind the rumors, as well as talk that Ramik is working on the recall effort of the mayor, Councilwoman Jill Brandana and Council Chairwoman Cheryl Burke.

“They’re trying to say I didn’t step down for medical reasons,” Ramik said. “But I’m not part of the recall group. If I was doing it, I’d be done already. I’d be their worst nightmare.”

Lamarand said he is not behind the recent speculation that Ramik wants his job, nor is he involved in a recall effort against Councilmen John Delo and Dennis Stapleton and Councilwomen Jacklyn Molner and Suzanne Weycker. The mayor said he has sent an e-mail message denying those allegations to people who have “acknowledged interest” in supporting him, as well as some who worked on his campaign and gotten some supportive feedback.

Lamarand said that despite his effort, however, his e-mail was cut and pasted on local blogs that still contend he’s behind the other recall and the rumors surrounding Ramik.

The mayor agrees, however, that it’s no secret that the former councilman has aspired to the city’s top post.

“I don’t know there’s any rumors” regarding that aspiration, Lamrand said. “He’s run for the office twice — and lost both times.”

Lamarand said while he’s not the one alleging Ramik’s ties to the recall effort against him and the two councilwomen, “I think it’s pretty evident he’s involved in working on the recall. People I’ve known for a long time have come to me saying he’s knocking on doors to get recall petitions signed. I don’t know how much less you can do on a recall.”

Ramik begs to differ, however, saying, “I’d have come at ’em with a lot more stuff. These people are being nice. But there’s other people that are doing it, and that’s their business. That’s their right.”

He calls it a “slap in the face” to suggest that he lied about his reasons for leaving the council, or that he would run for any office in his current condition. Ramik said his doctors are suggesting that he have surgery “soon,” though he declined to say when that might be. He also said the recent allegations haven’t helped his blood pressure levels.

Ramik didn’t rule out a run for mayor if his health improves, however.

“If I’m better in three years, you bet I’m going to,” he said. “Everybody knows I want to be mayor,

“But people are just running their mouths now because they’re afraid of Butch Ramik. They know I’ve never hesitated to speak what I believe.”