Hazel Park Judge Chuck Goedert Resigns for Health Reasons

Hazel Park Judge Chuck Goedert Resigns for Health Reasons

(Crystal A. Proxmire, March 17, 2020)

Hazel Park, MI – 43rd District Court Judge Charles “Chuck” Goedert resigned from his position due to medical issues.   The 43rd District includes Madison Heights, Ferndale, and Hazel Park, with each court being able to hear cases from any city, and each city having their own courthouse and judge.

Judge Goedert was appointed to the seat by Governor Jennifer Granholm in 2010 when Judge Robert Turner retired after 21 years from the bench in Madison Heights, and Judge Keith Hunt moved from Hazel Part to Madison Heights to fill the vacancy. Goedert retained the seat through subsequent elections.

Prior to his appointment, Goedert had been an attorney with Dickenson Wright for over 10 years. Plus he had served on Ferndale City Council from 1992-1995 and as Mayor from 1996-2002. He grew up in Ferndale and graduated from Ferndale High School and continues to reside there.

As a Ferndale councilperson and mayor, Goedert was part of Ferndale’s resurgence including a road diet and a more focused Downtown Development Association, bringing in events, beautification of streetscapes, opening up boards and commission to encourage citizen engagement, and overhauling zoning ordinances. He recalled in a previous interview that City Council had to institute an ordinance requiring Downtown businesses to leave their front doors open during business hours. Before then, many storefronts simply looked like a shopkeeper’s back room and patrons only came in through the back near the parking lots.

His city-shaping skills did not go to waste in Hazel Park either.  In 2017, the Judge completed a $2.2 million renovation project for the courthouse which was priced so inexpensively because he managed the project and used city labor, including his own, whenever possible.  He researched each piece of the puzzle – getting a discount on carpeting, buying used office furniture, and even going to Virginia to haul back old church pews which now fill the rows of the court room, which also serves as City Hall.  While project did have an aesthetic improvement, the main purpose was creating a more functional space for staff and visitors.  Funding came from an increase in traffic tickets and misdemeanors that was set aside for that purpose.

City Manager Ed Klobucher and others in city hall are grateful for Goedert’s initiative in making the renovation and expansion happen.  “He was instrumental in the court facilities renovation project,” Klobucher said. “I wish him well in all of his future endeavors.”

Judge Joseph Longo is the Chief Judge of the 43rd District, presiding over the bench in Ferndale.  “I hope any pray for Judge Goedert’s good health,” Longo said.  “He was a very hard working judge, a no nonsense kind of guy.”

Goedert’s departure comes gracefully at a time when the court is seeing reduced caseload due to Cornavirus precautions.  “The docket’s been reduced and we are only seeing the top priority cases,” Longo said, adding that demand on the court system will spike again once the restrictions are lifted.

In Goedert’s place there is a “Visiting Judge,” Judge Johnson, who formerly was a judge in northern Michigan.  He retired and moved to the Metro Detroit are to be with family, and has agreed to step in until either Governor Gretchen Whitmer appoints a replacement (who would have to seek re-election in November), or until Jan. 1 if a new Judge is elected in the November 3 election.

“We’re not sure what Governor Whitmer is going to do as far as if she has an appointment or not,” Judge Longo said, noting that the Governor’s office is especially busy due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Ferndale resident Dennis Whittie, who served a short appointed term on Ferndale City Council in 2019 but was unsuccessful in the election, has announced his candidacy for the 43rd District Judge position.

Goedert has not yet returned request for comment. This article may be updated with more information as we gather it.

For more information, each division of the 43rd District Court has their own website:

Ferndale

Hazel Park

Madison Heights

 

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