A City Council Vote is a Violation of Our City Charter

Financial Stability Agreement = Financial Handcuffs for Detroit

The Detroit City Council is expected to vote on a proposed DRAFT consent agreement. What is not reported, or discussed is that any vote is premature. The agreement violates the city charter.

This agreement is legally being proposed by the Detroit City Council. The council member sponsoring this for consideration is not being listed by the clerk. The council is empowered by the city charter which is empowered by the Home Rule City Act (“Act 279”). A law cited within the agreement itself. That law says in part that the local municipality must follow its local charter. If the local charter does not provide legal rules or guidance, only then does the local council apply state law. This leads to the Attorney General and Governor approving a local charter when it’s being considered or adoption or change.  

The city charter outlines the role of all actions by council. The charter states the limits of the city council and defines the structure of city government. This so called financial agreement violates both and in doing so violates the city charter. By taking this under consideration the city council would then be in violation of the city charter. The agreement creates an office called a Chief Financial Officer and further defines mayoral appointees who would then report to this new office. A document that is not part of a local charter cannot alter a local charter.

Further, this activity is the same as a modification to the charter. The charter cannot be modified by a simply vote of the council. Only by the approval of the voters in Detroit can the charter be modified. Additionally, as reported before, http://hoodresearch.org/pressrelease/?p=170 – “City Council Prepared to Vote and Violate our City Charter”, a rule of law of this type can only be created through an ordinance by city council. The city council is attempting to create this agreement as a resolution. This too is a violation of the charter. Lastly the council operates on a committee structure. Changes to law are supposed to originate within a committee and then by vote of the committee majority the proposed item is brought before the body of the whole. The council is violating the charter and violating their rules.

Those elected to serve on the council took an oath of office to uphold the state constitution. By taking these actions they are violating that oath by breaking the law. This will lead to their eventual forfeiture of office under this new charter.  Is jail a possibility? An investigation by the county prosecutor or state attorney general will be needed to determine that outcome.

Also See:

“City Of Detroit Financial Review Report”, By Tom Barrow, http://hoodresearch.org/TheThinkersReport/?p=552

“Three Reasons Why City Council Should Not Approve State Plan”, http://hoodresearch.org/pressrelease/?p=172

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