City clerk heads list of resignations in Heights

By DANIEL HERATY
Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS – City Clerk Judy Dudzinski tops a list of 14 elected and administrative officials who have decided to retire.

“It was definitely not an easy decision,” she said, declining to give a specific reason.

Dudzinski, Deputy Clerk Donna Pawlukiewicz and City Council secretary Maria Lawrence all are leaving March 31.

Other departure dates are scattered throughout the year for the 14 employees, who include union and nonunion personnel in the Department of Public Works, Building Department, Fire Department and the City Assessor’s Office.

Mayor Daniel Paletko declined comment through a spokesman, but Human Resource Director Elisabeth Sabota-Perry said all qualified for an early-out program offered in the city’s most recent agreement with American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and extended to include nonunion workers.

“Hopefully it’s a happy departure for employees,” she said. “I wish them well and hope they have many healthy, happy years as retirees.”

Coucilwoman Janet Badalow said the employees’ exit stemmed from a number of issues that have accumulated over the years.

“She’s just disgusted with the whole thing,” Badalow said of Dudzinski. “She has to do what’s best for her.”

Council President Kenneth Baron said the resignations came as a shock.

“It just throws more monkey wrenches into everything,” he said.

Councilwoman Margaret Horvath said at the Feb. 8 meeting that one possible solution to filling the vacancy is to have Dudzinski and Pawlukiewicz serve part time until the elections in May and November have been held. And that job will not be easy, she said.

“The person that takes that job in November, they ing capability,” Horvath said, “because they’re going to have to learn how to do an election right from the get-go.”

Baron said there is no set method to determining Dudzinski’s replacement.

“We will probably follow what we’ve done in the past,” he said, adding that most likely means an application process.

Badalow said the city charter outlines a method for replacing the departing clerk.

“After the resignation the council would meet to address the situation,” she said, adding that her personal preference is to have Dudzinski appoint someone until the election.

“If we had a deputy, she could fill (the position),” Badalow said, “but she’s leaving, too.

“To have no plan is ridiculous.”

(Daniel Heraty can be reached at dheraty@bewickpublications.com.)