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Evans’ wife resigns from county job

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans’ wife resigned from her job with the county treasurer’s office Tuesday following a media report questioning her hiring.

In a letter Tuesday, Renata Seals-Evans, who was director of community outreach, said she chose to resign after analyzing the effect her employment has on the county due to her marriage.

“The mere appearance of being unethical is not acceptable to me and my standard of living ...” Seals-Evans wrote in a resignation letter to County Treasurer Eric Sabree. “Allow this letter to serve as my commitment to the transparency and to the loyalty that I have for Wayne County and its residents. It is hard to walk away from a job that you love, but I will continue with my due diligence for the many veterans, elderly people, and families that suffer because of lack of awareness of options that are available in Wayne County.

“What is most important is that Wayne County continues to grow under its elected leadership,” Seals-Evans continued. “The county has come a long way, and this type of distraction is not indicative of the patterns being set by my husband or for you for that matter.”

Seals-Evans’ resignation comes less than a week after WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) aired a report questioning her hiring in the county treasurer’s office.

According to the report, then-treasurer Richard Hathaway hired Seals-Evans, then Evans’ girlfriend, as an independent contractor in February 2016 despite her not having a college degree or government experience. She earned $60,000. In October, Sabree offered her a full-time position earning $70,000. Seals-Evans and Evans wed in December after they began dating a year earlier.

Evans said Tuesday that his position as Wayne County’s executive did not influenced his then-girlfriend’s hiring.

“My wife, Renata, did the honorable thing by resigning to resolve any appearance of impropriety, even though there wasn’t any impropriety,” Evans wrote in a statement Tuesday. “I did not, at any time, play any role in her hiring. Sometimes, a responsible public leader must remove even the appearance of impropriety, even if it does not actually exist, in order to maintain the public’s confidence in the government he leads.”

Seals-Evans was director of the county’s program that works to reduce foreclosures by educating residents about repayment options and other resources.

Sabree said Seals-Evans worked hard during her time as a contract employee and eventually accepted an offer to fill a vacant full-time position the community needed.

“I lost a dedicated employee who put everything she had into her job in the interests of helping reduce foreclosure in our community and allow people to stay in their homes,” Sabree wrote in a statement. “Renata brought professional and personal experience to her community outreach role and resonated with the people she served.

“I reject any notion that she was not a good fit for the job. She performed extremely well and will be missed.”

cwilliams@detroitnews.com

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