Edward Keelean’s vote on Election Commission a violation of city charter

Actions voted by Commission on Thursday May 23 not valid

Detroit, Michigan

Edward Keelean is not the Corporation Counsel for the city of Detroit. Edward Keelean participated in and voted during a meeting of the Election Commission for the city of Detroit on May 23rd. The actions by Keelean and the commission violate the charter, violate our rule of law and show disrespect for our voting and election process.

Keelean should immediately step down and resign from the law department. The Election Commission should immediately reschedule the actions taken on May 23rd so as not to include the vacant office of corporation counsel. Not taking these actions is gross misconduct by Keelean and the city clerk, Janice Winfrey.

 The city charter contains the rules for the formation of the election commission in section 3-102 shown below;

Sec. 3-102. Election Commission

The Department of Elections is headed by the Election Commission composed of:

1. The City Clerk, who is Chairperson;

2. The President of the City Council; and

3. The Corporation Counsel.


Edward Keelean by illegally assuming the role of corporation counsel violated the city charter by participating in and voting as part of the election commission. The votes and actions taken by the commission on May 23rd are invalid. Keelean must also be held responsible for his violations. The office of corporation counsel is described in section 7.5-201, “The Law Department” of the city charter. The first paragraph (listed below) instructs the only process for selecting and obtaining the head of the law department, the Corporation Counsel.

 The Law Department is headed by the Corporation Counsel who is the duly authorized and official legal counsel for the City of Detroit and its constituent branches, units and agencies of government. The Mayor shall appoint the Corporation Counsel subject to approval of the City Council. However, if the City Council does not disapprove the appointment within thirty (30) days, it is deemed confirmed.

 Only by mayoral appointment is there a corporation counsel. Edward Keelean has never been appointed to this role. He has assumed this function in violation of the charter. The city charter does not allow any automatic succession to a vacancy in the office of corporate counsel. Thus Keelean is not the head of the law department, he is not the corporate counsel and he is not part of the election commission. Failure by him or the clerk to address these actions threatens the rule of law within Detroit and the sanctity of our election process. Allowing the actions taken on May 23rd to stand is the same as allowing any ordinary person to take part as an official in an office specified and outlined by our charter.


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