Sabree named Wayne County treasurer

Christine MacDonald
The Detroit News
  • The appointment lasts through until June 30, 2017, and pays about $116,000 a year.
  • The treasurer’s seat will be on this year’s primary and general election ballots.
  • Eight people were vying for the position.
  • Sabree joined the treasurer’s office in March 2011, after 11 years as a Wayne County attorney.

A county panel on Monday unanimously voted to appoint current Chief Deputy Treasurer Eric Sabree to lead the Wayne County Treasurer’s Office.

Sabree takes over for Richard Hathaway, who resigned last month after only three months on the job. The panel of elected officials consisted of Prosecutor Kym Worthy, Clerk Cathy Garrett and Chief Probate Judge Freddie Burton Jr.

The post lasts until June 30, 2017, and pays about $116,000 a year. The treasurer’s seat will be on this year’s primary and general election ballots.

Sabree joined the treasurer’s office in March 2011, after spending more than 11 years as an attorney for Wayne County. While in that position, he headed the county’s Nuisance Abatement program, which sued absentee owners to fix up their properties or risk losing them. He’s also worked for the city of Detroit and the Detroit Housing Commission.

Sabree said after his appointment that his goal is to balance the collection of taxes with helping county residents.

“Keeping people in their homes is critical,” Sabree said.

Hathaway was selected in December to succeed Treasurer Raymond J. Wojtowicz, who retired Dec. 1 after 39 years in the job. Hathaway was the county’s chief assistant prosecutor under Worthy and served as a county judge for nearly 25 years.

Hathaway announced this month that he would resign because of “personal family matters.”

There was no discussion before the vote.

“He clearly in my mind was the best choice,” Worthy said. “I don’t think it was even close.”

“He has a good grasp of everything.”

The others seeking the position were:

■Walter B. Bell, a former housekeeper at the Veterans Administration Ann Arbor Health Care System.

■Former state Rep. Phil Cavanagh, D-Redford Township, a former county commissioner.

■Shushiyah Hawkins, who has worked in retail and customer service.

■Beverly Kindle-Walker a former neighborhood city hall manager who has run for treasurer since 1996.

■William S. Noakes, Jr, a former Wayne County deputy corporation counsel who served as a vice president at Meijer for nine years and now heads his own consulting firm.

■Edgar L. Vann III, Wayne County Community College District’s director of government relations and son of the Rev. Edgar Vann II of Second Ebenezer Church.

■D. Etta Wilcoxon, who applied last year for the treasurer post and ran for Detroit clerk in 2013.

The Treasurer’s Office has processed more than 100,000 tax foreclosures over the last decade and holds the annual tax foreclosure auctions. Some critics say those actions have forced people from their homes, while allowing investors to buy land in bulk without paying taxes.

cmacdonald@detroitnews.com