AP mayor to resign for health reasons

Sunday Times Newspapers

ALLEN PARK — Mayor Gary Burtka plans to resign his post next week.

He announced his plans at the end of Tuesday’s City Council meeting, citing ongoing issues with cancer, among other health concerns.

Burtka was elected in 2007; his term expires at the end of this year. He often has been asked to resign at council meetings by residents who blame him for the failed Allen Park Studio Center project.

“I’m going to probably enjoy life,” he said. “I’m going to see what happens, see what the future holds. I’m not really looking at returning to any kind of work. You can smell the roses at some point in time, so I’m going to try to do that.”

Burtka retired in 2002 as executive lieutenant for the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office in 2003, he worked for Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, serving as director of community relations, Freedom of Information Act director and director of investigations. He has been on the council since 1995.

Burtka acknowledged the hard work of the council, adding that the past few years have been some of the hardest the city has seen.

In the past year, the city saw Jimmy Lifton pull his two businesses, Unity Studios and the Lifton Institute for Media Skills, out of the Studio Center, for which the city paid $25 million in 2008. It also issued and then rescinded layoff notices to the entire Fire Department.

“This is the toughest times anywhere out there for the city, county, state, federal government, school system,” Burtka said. “It’s the hardest time to run. My prior times have been good times. There (has) been money, good times, but things happen.”

Burtka’s last day in office is June 1. Mayor Pro Tempore Felice Lalli then will take over as mayor. Lalli’s council seat will be offered to Tina Gaworecki, who was the second runner up in the last election four years ago. The first runner-up, Larry Templin, took Kyle Tertzag’s seat when he resigned earlier this year.