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

Follow Us on Twitter:         https://twitter.com/#!/HoodResearch

313.931.2700, contact@hoodresearch.org

 

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City Council Prepared to Vote and Violate Our City Charter

Consequences: Ethics Violations, Forfeiture of Office, and Jail?

There are reports that the Detroit City Council is expected to vote on a proposed DRAFT consent agreement on Monday, April 2nd. What is not reported, or discussed is that any vote is premature. A vote will violate the city charter.

The city charter outlines the role of all actions by council. City Council votes primarily on Ordinances and Resolutions. Resolutions do not alter the government. Examples include contracts or purchase requests that city council approves. Ordinances are actions that have consequences. They include changes in how the city government operates and affect elected or appointed duties and responsibilities. This proposed Public Act 4 Consent Agreement changes how city government operates including repercussions and authority given to a non-elected review board.

The consent agreement is being presented as a resolution. The city charter clearly defines that this type of agreement must be an ordinance. When voting on an ordinance the charter stipulates that the proposed ordinance must be published and presented to the community. Afterwards a five day waiting period must expire before the council can hold a public hearing. Only then can the council vote. This has not occurred with this proposal. A final copy of this document has not been created.

There has been a deliberate effort to conceal the workings of government from the people of Detroit during this activity. A city council member must present this document to the whole council for consideration. We the people have not been told which of the council members introduced this proposal. Further which council committee has worked on this proposal or voted to present this to the full council? The charter dictates how the council must operate. The governor, state treasurer (an appointed position) and mayor cannot alter the workings of city government regardless of the reason.

Emergencies do exist. The charter does allow for emergency items passed by the city council. This proposal has not been presented as an emergency. Laws passed through the council as an emergency ordinance expire after 61 days. How can city government, the mayor and council, criticize the people for not participating if they attempt to prevent the people from being included in the process?

These charter provisions are not burdensome. City council must uphold and follow the charter per state law. Failure to follow the charter can include being dismissed from office. The city Corporation Counsel, City Clerk and those who work for the council that perform a role within this process are also liable if the charter is violated. The Corporate Counsel also must follow ethical rules. Failure to meet those rules could affect their ability to practice the law.

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Three Reasons Why City Council Should Not Approve State Plan

Public Act 4 Consent Agreement, Based on Flaws and Lies

 

DETROIT, MI — April 2, 2012 — The Detroit City Council has been reviewing a proposed agreement with the state of Michigan over how Detroit Government should be remodeled and how control over the city’s finances should be allocated. There are severe problems with how the process has unfolded and how the state government has proceeded under the law.

 

Review Team’s Report is Poorly Written and Difficult to Follow

The Public Act 4, review team, produced a report that stated the city of Detroit has a financial emergency. This statement is itself based on provisions in the newly created Public Act 4 law which is being challenged as unconstitutional and is pending suspension from a citizen led petition drive. The report states in several places that problems exist yet does not provide examples nor cite specifics within the city’s budget or financial process. The report contains several tables of dollar amounts. However these tables are not linked to their source. They are meaningless without appropriate context. They cannot be used as fact based on their lack of factual data. It’s questionable if any of the city officials or any media persons has even read this report or reviewed these tables.

 

Review Team’s Report Compares Apples to Oranges

The Public Act 4, review team’s report is used to characterize debt for the city of Detroit. Their characterizations are not only misleading but not factual. The report includes debt from several places. One of those is Water and Sewage. The report lists these separately. In reality this is a single department. Further all revenue and debt is not covered just by the city of Detroit but by the consumers of the water and sewage system. The system is self sustaining. All revenue and debt is overseen by the water board and for the past thirty years by a federal judge. The debt by this department has never been stated to be problematic or a burden for the city of Detroit.

 

Review Teams Report Contains Speculation and Forecasted Opinion

The Public Act 4, review team’s report contains financial amounts for the city’s pension’s obligations. These amounts are questionable. Further these amounts are not based on current activity but by future possible activity. The city’s pension systems are up to date and secure, so much that multiple city authorities continue to borrow from these systems to finance building and construction in the downtown Detroit area.

 

The means that have been presented as a reason for Detroit to give up its control over our finances are false. The review team has merely produced a report to support the preference of the governor to dictate how city government should be run. Don’t allow someone else to trick you out of your money. This is merely a high tech confidence game where the con artist tricks you into handing over your money. Don’t be fooled.

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For more information,

(Hood Research), (313.931.2700), (contact@HoodResearch.Org)

Detroit, A City in Financial Crisis

How did we get to this point?
  • Lying Lawyers
  • Rhyming Preachers
  • Corrupt Voting Process
  • Voter Apathy
  • Uninformed Voters
  • Weak Mayor
  • Lack of Accountability and Integrity in Local Government
  • Dysfunctional, Incompetent and Inept Elected Officials i.e. Mayor and Council
  • Poor Leadership in Government
  • Mismanagement in City Government
  • Nepotism in Local Government
  • Cronyism in Local Government
  • Collusion
  • Corruption
  • Political Corruption
  • Judicial Corruption
Solution: Cost Saving Measures
  • Mayor Bing should immediately create a “Crisis Turn Around Committee”. This committee should consist of Retired and Current City Personnel who understand Budgeting and Finance, Best Practices in Municipal Government, 21st Century Budgeting Concepts and Dynamics of City Government (Detroit) and have a Working Knowledge of Detroit Government and City Departments. Ideally, committee members will be Residents of Detroit.
  • Forensic Audit of Police, Fire, D-DOT, DPW, Library, Dept of Human Services and Library.
  • Performance Audit of Department Heads/Appointees and Departments.
  • Immediately Terminate Employment of Certain Department Heads i.e. Police Chief, Fire Commissioner, D-DOT, Dept. of Human Services and Library.
  • Obtain services of a Operational Auditor
  • Re-Engineer City Government
  • Reduce amount of Mayor Appointee’s
  • Reduce Council Staff by half
  • Flatten City Departments
  • Eliminate City Departments
  • Consolidate City Departments
  • Eliminate Current Fire Department Executive Organization Structure
  • Revisit and Amend City Budget (Immediately)
  • Institute Program, Performance and Zero Base Budgeting Concept for each City Department (42)
  • Focus on Core Services of each City Department
  • Allow City Unions to Bid on Contracts
  • Allow Competition for Public Employee Medical and Health Care
  • Create Department (Internal) Account Receivable Section
  • Re-Open and adequately fund Mystersky Power Plant to generate revenue by selling electricity.
  • Invest in Employee Training Program
  • Invest in Retiree Resource.
  • Initiate Legal Action against the State of Michigan for minimum $220,000,000.00 and Legal Fees.
  • Initiate Legal Action against DPS for minimum $15,000,000.00 and Legal Fees.
  • Initiate Collection of Income Tax and Property Tax from Business Owners (Past and Present)
  • Freeze all Tax Abatements
  • Create City Car Pool for Nonemergency use.
  • Discontinue Automobile Stipend
Consequence:
  • Emergency Financial Manager in Detroit
If you have any questions please call me.
Reginald D. Amos, Deputy Chief (Ret)
313-399-8290

Did Jenice Mitchell Ford, abuse her elected office?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact Hood Research
Contact Person Henry Teutsch
313.931.2700, contact@hoodresearch.org
www.HoodResearch.org/pressrelease
http://www.facebook.com/HoodResearch

November 8, 2011

 

Did Jenice Mitchell Ford, abuse her elected office,

misuse government property and violate the code of ethics?

 

On Friday, October 28, 2011 Ford sent an email to a Hood Research volunteer. This email directly asks for recipients to vote yes on proposal C on the November 8, 2011 ballot. This is a campaign letter. However the email obtained is one of many apparently supplied at the community meetings organized by the Charter Commission. This volunteer does not know Ford personally and did not work on her political campaign. The email address was not shared in any circumstance other than the community events organized by the elected and sitting charter commissioners.

Did Ford then take the personal contact information gathered at the charter commission meetings, collected at taxpayers’ expense and as part of a government sponsored activity, and use this information for her personal campaign as a proponent of proposal C? If true and it appears likely, this would be a clear ethics violation. Ford was the former vice chair of the ethics board for the city of Detroit under former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. If true, this would be a violation of campaign laws as sitting elected persons are not allowed to use government resources for personal campaigns. Further, government resources are not allowed to be used to campaign for or against political issues. Finally if true this would be a criminal act as this would mean that government property was taken for use for non-government work. This would be theft and if true this is a serious crime.

Citizens of Detroit seeking to participate in our government, having provided personal information for our benefit to be informed of activities related to official government activities should not be subjected to unrelated or otherwise personal political messages by special interests based on our own interest in our government. We should not have to fear participation if our personal contact information will then be used to further a particular point of view. Federal laws exist to protect personal and private information. Political campaigns must abide by those laws and accumulate emails or phone numbers by means outside of and separate from government activities.

This was wrong and if Ford obtained this email as part of her work as a charter commissioner she should have known better. There needs to be an investigation to determine the source of the email list and how the email of a Hood Research volunteer became known to Ford and the proponents of proposal C. If Ford followed her own campaign motto she would be striving to uphold ethics in government and apparently not use her position for personal interests. Money used to fund the charter commission should not also then supplement any political campaign. The effort to collect emails and conduct mailing lists cost money and takes time. This does not appear to be the method used to support this mailing.

See Email HERE: http://www.hoodresearch.org/downloads/Chartcomm_Nov-08-11a.pdf

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DFD Decision Making, Destroys Lifes

Report by Reginald D. Amos, Deputy Chief (ret)

(Last week a fire struck a residential home with the result of a three year old girl losing her life.)

The fire was at 5167 Cooper and the first fire truck on the scene was Tac-2 which replaced Engine 46 which was out of service for two weeks due to mechanical problems. Tac -2 is not designed to fight structural or dwelling fires, it is designed to get into areas where a normal size fire truck will have difficulty manuvering or can’t get to. Tac-2 is equipped with pumps and has its own water supply. This particular truck was purchased with funds from the casinos [taxes] and delivered in 2008 to battle auto fires in the parking structures.
 
It was initially reported that the firefighters assigned to Tac 2 upon arrival could not fight the fire because the pumps were broken and they had to wait until another fire truck arrived. A second fire truck arrived on scene and according to the family, a third fire truck arrived on scene before fire lines (hose) were pulled to fight the fire. Firefighters utilized a ladder and entered the front upstairs bedroom window where the 3 year old was found and was handed out the window to other firefighters barely breathing but alive. She was transported to the hospital where she made her transition. 
 
The second report was Tac -2 pumps were disconnected. The day after the tragedy Tac 2 was taken to the training academy where Fire Commissioner Donald Austin , Deputy Fire Commissioner Fred Wheeler and other Fire Department Personnel were assembled; the vehicle was inspected and the pumps operated fine.
 
Commissioner Austin said the pump had been disengaged because anyone expected to use Tac -2 has to be certified. “We did not have to my knowledge a certified driver on that rig”
 
September 16, 2011 viewing of Let It Rip, News Reporter Charlie Leduff produce a copy of an order instructing Firefighters not to use Tac 2 Pumps. 
 
The following is the troubling concern:

Tac -2 should never have been used to replace Engine 46 or any other fire vehicle.

The fact Engine 46 been out of service for repairs 2 weeks is unacceptable. Why?
No Back -Up or Replacement Vehicle is unacceptable. Why?
No Certified Driver’s for Tac -2 is Unacceptable.

Note: Fire Department Leadership made the decision not to spend over time funds to train and certify personnel to drive and operate this vehicle.

Commissioner Austin statement “I believe to the bottom of my heart everything worked as it should”.

Commissioner Austin statement “It would not have made any difference at all if a regular pumper had been in service”.

Commissioner Austin statement ” Booster Lines are not designed for interior firefighting”.

Commissioner Austin statement ” We made the decision to put the smaller tactical unit in the firehouse that day to be certain firefighters could be carried quickly to any possible rescue attempt which is usually attempted before hoses are used to douse a blaze”.

Commissioner Austin is being ill-advised by Deputy Fire Commissioner Fred Wheeler and 2nd Deputy Fire Commissioner Cheryl Campbell who neither have Fire Command Experience or Fire Service Supervisory Experience. Before Wheeler received his political appointment to 2nd Deputy Fire Commissioner by the urging of Carolyn Kilpatrick to Kwame Kilpatrick, Wheeler was a Fire Engine Operator (Driver). Campbell was a Captain in EMS Training. Both are members of the prior Fire Leadership Team that created major problems for the fire department and is the reason the fire department is in the dysmal condition it is today.
It is interesting Commissioner Austin can find funding to create a New Organization {Chart} with new positions and appoint two new 2nd Deputy Fire Commissioners with staffing but cannot find funds to repair or replace fire equipment in a acceptable time frame. What is the cost? and where did the funding come from? Clearly the Fire Department is “Top Heavy”.
If this is the best Commissioner Austin can come up with after nearly four months as Fire Commissioner, Mayor Bing need to cut his losses and immediately fire Commissioner Austin and the Entire Fire Department Executive Leadership Team along with the Civilian Advisory Fire Commissioners. If Commissioner Austin made the above statements and initiated the above actions in L.A. California, he would be immediately fired.
 
Reasons:
– Incompetence
– Gross Negligence
– Malfeasance
– Misfeasance
– Nonfeasance

Contributing Factors:
• Commissioner Austin failed to properly assess the Detroit Fire Department.
• Poor Management Decisions, Key Missteps and Dysfunctional Ineffective Leadership.
Commissioner Austin is an outsider who doesn’t know the Detroit Fire Department dynamics.
Austin was brought in from Los Angeles, California to serve as Executive Fire Commissioner to correct Incompetence and Mismanagement in Detroit Fire Department Leadership and address Negative Response Time and Equipment Issues of EMS and Firefighting Division. How can he effectively address those concerns keeping members of the previous incompetent leadership team and appointing individuals with absolutely no Fire Service Knowledge oe Experience.
 
At this point I question Commissioner Austin ability to effectively lead the Detroit Fire Department.
The Citizens of Detroit cannot wait for Austin to OJT (On the Job Train).
 
Continue reading ‘DFD Decision Making, Destroys Lifes’ »

Faulty Leadership, not Faulty Equipment, at Fault in DFD

By Chief Reginald Amos, Ret.

This is a report about the three year old that died from smoke inhalation and how the Detroit Fire Department dispatched a truck which arrived first on the scene without working fire pumps.

Initially it was reported the pumps were broken, then it was reported the pumps were disconnected the truth of the matter is the pumps worked but the firefighters were ordered not to use the pumps because of the following:

Per Fire Commissioner Donald Austin “we did not have certified drivers to operate the vehicle”. It must be noted the reason there are no certified drivers is the Fire Department Failed to train the personnel. The three year old vehicle was delivered in 2008.
Fire Department sources say fire department administrators did not want firefighters to damage the vehicle.
This vehicle was taken to the fire academy the day after the little girl died, Fire Commissioner Austin and Deputy Fire Commissioner Wheeler were present and the truck pumps were tested and the pumps worked fine.
 
On “Let It Rip” this past friday (9/16/11) news reporter Charlie LeDuff produced a copy of the order that the pumps were not to be used.
This is Gross Negligence, Malfeasance, Misfeasance and Nonfeasance and Criminal.
 
If this is the best Commissioner Austin can come up with after nearly four months as Fire Commissioner, Mayor Bing needs to cut his losses and immediately terminate Fire Commissioner Austin and the entire Fire Department leadership Team. If Commissioner Austin was in Los Angeles, California as Fire Chief he would have been fired immediately.
 
Contributing Factors in a case for Immediate Dismissal:
• Commissioner Austin failed to properly assess the Deroit Fire Department.
• Commissioner Austin is an outsider and does not know or understand the dynamics of the Detroit Fire Department and is being advised by Deputy Fire Commissioner Fred Wheeler and 2nd Deputy Fire Commissioner Cheryl Campbell both of whom were members of the leadership team that created the problems. I must add that neither of which have Fire Command Experience or Supervisory Experience.
• Poor Management Decisions, Key Mistakes and Dysfunctional Ineffective Leadership.
Commissioner Austin has designed and implemented an Organization Chart creating two additional 2nd Deputy Fire Commissioners who have absolutely No Fire Service Experience or knowledge which by my estimation will cost taxpayers approximately $750,000.00 to $1,000,000.00 (Salary and Benefits).

The fact of the matter is, Austin was brought here to correct Dysfunctional Leadership, Mismanagement, Firefighting and EMS Response Time and Apparatus and Equipment Issues.

The question is: How can Austin be successfull with the Deputy Fire Commissioner and three 2nd Deputy Fire Commissioners not having Successful Fire Command, Supervisory Experience or Knowledge of the Fire Service.  Continue reading ‘Faulty Leadership, not Faulty Equipment, at Fault in DFD’ »

Follow The Money, No Statute of Limitations on Fraud

Our money is missing, we know who took it but we don’t know where it is. The Michigan Constitution governs our state. Our constitution is the highest legal authority and establishes our rule of law in our state. All actions by the state officers both elected, appointed and hired must follow the rule of law.

 

  1. In 1994, Detroit voters approved a Capital Improvement Program that authorized the then elected Detroit Public Schools Board to sell $1.5 Billion in bonds over a planned 15 year period.
  2. In 1998, the Michigan State Legislature and then Governor John Engler passed legislation that disbanded the elected Detroit Public School Board.
  3. in 1999, the state’s Reform Board was installed, the elected board was dissolved, none of the CIP bonds had been issued at this time
  4. The Reform Board, as it was called in the state legislation, produced deficits in their school budget in all of the years of their existence
  5. The Reform Board also spent over $1 Billion during its five year existence, spending approximately $400 Million on two schools, Cass Tech and Renaissance High Schools in addition to it’s yearly budget
  6. Detroit residents and property owners continued to pay billions of dollars in property taxes attributed to the support of the Detroit Public Schools during this time even as the Detroit Public School Board had been suspended by state law

 

The question is what happened to that money? The estimate is roughly $10 Billion with interest.
If everyone involved followed the law, then the money collected as taxes from Detroiters since 1999 with interest is available for our schools. The bond funds that were not issued by the elected Detroit Public School Board is available to be used per voters approval.

The debts incurred by the states Reform Board and Governor Engler’s appointees are the responsibility of the state. These debts are not owned by Detroit residents and the debts are not owned by the elected Detroit Public School Board.
Our state constitution states; “The state is prohibited from requiring any new or expanded activities by local governments without full state financing,from reducing the proportion of state spending in the form of aid to local governments, or from shifting the tax burden to local government.” Article IX section 25.
Follow the money and we will see who did what. If laws were broken then the prosecutors and those who’ve sworn to uphold the law and the Michigan Constitution must act. Doing nothing is to violate the Oath of Office and to vacate the positions granted by the voters.

Bobb’s deficit is covered by the Headlee Amendment, as is Engler’s Reform Board

 

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Citizens to the DFD, WHERE IS THE MONEY?

The list of questions attached to the list of alleged misused budgeted funds is growing. The Detroit Fire Department face allegations of misuse of city money. 

A forensic and a performance audit no longer is requested, but is mandatory. Which of the elected and appointed officials will meet their obligations and conduct this audit. Those who cannot directly audit can force an audit by the state treasurer, the city auditor general, the finance department and even take the step in using the assistance of the county auditor general.

What is alleged?

  • $400k for floor repairs to station houses that never took place
  • $1.5 million for a training tower that was never built
  • Budgeted money for fire stations that have been closed for years
  • Incidents of payouts to individuals, outside of proper and legal city procedures and in violation of the city charter
  • $400k for Engine 19 that was disbanded in 1949
  • $400k for Engine 22 that was disbanded in 1983
  • Signed invoices by current leadership for these and other expenditures over the past few years

Additionally budgeted positions have existed in past budgets for the

  • Airport, approximately $2M per year
  • Fire-boat, approximately $1.5M per year
  • Casino, approximately $3M per year

and yet these positions were not filled, or could not be filled. Yet that money never made it back into the general fund for the next years budget. What happened to those funds? Where were they spent? Changes to the budget require city council approval.

With the current issues facing Detroit’s Budget and the repeated threats by the mayor and some on city council concerning a state appointed emergency manager, and with the Oakland County executive criticizing Detroit, blaming the city for Oakland counties bond status; any alleged violations must be investigated. Malfeasance must be addressed. Any corruption must be found and procedures put in place to prevent recurrences. This can only be done with forensic and performance audits.One will review what has been spent and how the money is managed the other will review the departments procedures and its budget.

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Too Many Fires to put out at the DFD

Recent incident demands action and accountability for our public safety

A recent incident allegedly occurred on June 4th when an underage girl was admitted into Engine 40 sometime after 8pm. Engine 40 is located near the intersection of Dexter and Ewald Circle. This girl was allegedly sexual assaulted by more than one of the on duty firefighters. After the allegedly assault, the girl was carried outside in the rain. Reportedly at some point a cab was called, however the cab arrived but the driver refused the girl as a passenger. One of the firefighters then reportedly called an acquaintance who when arriving drove the girl away. Its unknown where she was taken. This remains a allegation that deserves an open investigation.

This incident was reported to the upper leadership of the DFD who are aware of the allegations. The members of Engine 40 were reportedly ordered to submit letters to the commissioner on what occurred by the upper leadership of the DFD. Standing policy for the DFD is to report all rule violations immediately. This means that not only did the incident not get reported when it occurred but the policy of no visitors after 8pm was also broken and thus the official procedures were not followed.

The Wayne County Prosecutors office was also allegedly told, but reportedly replied that they would do nothing without a formal complaint. Without the Detroit Police being notified, and the Detroit Fire Department leadership not making any official city reports, and none of the parties involved on the night of the alleged incident coming forward to make a report, this incident may be officially swept under the rug as another urban legend.

This firehouse is also the station accused of stealing a wallet (early 2011) during a response to an emergency. This firehouse was accused of stealing a child’s toy (game boy, several years ago) under a Christmas tree when responding to a call during the holidays. Clearly there are some unresolved issues regarding discipline, ethics, and professional conduct in addition to an apparent history of criminal behavior.

 

In the past, these and other victims of abuses by the DFD were allegedly compensated by the Fire Department. This practice, if true, is a violation of the city charter, the city policies and would be hidden from the city council who must vote on any such expenditure. Further, this practice would be a violation of the law. Lacking any legal justification and be the same as stealing by government officials. How many payouts could occur in this manner without official record. The local prosecutor and the state attorney general should investigate any expenditures of funds in this manner.
These incidents call for a complete review of the entire leadership team of the DFD. Two senior executives were recently replaced but the problems continue. If a group of DFD chiefs are not responsible, then this is a problem within the Bing administration. The citizens of Detroit deserve to have a well run, free of corruption public safety department. We need to feel safe when we call 911 to get help. We should not fear for our possessions nor fear for our own safety from those who are paid to help.

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