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Dearborn Heights mayor dies of COVID-19 complications

City of Dearborn Heights
via Facebook

Dearborn Heights Mayor Daniel Paletko has died from COVID-19 complications, the city confirmed on  social media Tuesday night, calling his death “sudden.”

Paletko was 70 years old. He had served as Dearborn Heights mayor since 2004, and also served in the Michigan State House of Representatives.

“We are all in shock over the tragic loss of our Mayor Dan Paletko,” the Dearborn Heights Police Department wrote on its Facebook page.“Mayor Dan Paletko was a tremendous asset to our community and a great leader for the city of Dearborn Heights.”

“This is just too much,” Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement.

“Mayor Paletko was one of the first Wayne County Mayors to befriend me, to work with me, and to support me. The fact that the doors of Dearborn Heights were always open was a testament to his kindness, his openness, and his belief that we were one Wayne County and if Dearborn Heights benefitted, we all benefitted. He was the quintessential collaborator.”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer tweeted: "I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Mayor Dan Paletko. He was a committed public servant and an extraordinary colleague. My heart is with his family, friends, and the city of Dearborn Heights."

Paletko had clashed with members of Dearborn Heights City Council in recent years over a city audit and other issues, with some council members calling for his removal earlier this year.

In his final message on the city’s Facebook page, Paletko said his focus was guiding the city through the COVID-19 pandemic. “This has been a year like no other for all of us and the most challenging and difficult in my political career,” he wrote.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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