Public Council session Fri. June 22, 2 pm, CAYMC 13th floor
Court hearing on Judge Wendy Baxter’s TRO barring shutdown of city’s Health, Human Services, and Workforce Depts. same day, 11:30 am.
By Diane Bukowski
June 21, 2012
DETROIT – Buckling to pressure from Wall Street banks, the daily media, and state politicians, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has called a special session of the City Council for Friday, June 22 at2 p.m. He wants at least six Council members to vote for the discharge “without cause” of the city’s Corporation Counsel Krystal Crittendon.
The meeting, to be held in Council chambers on the 13th floor of the Coleman A. Young Center at 2 Woodward Ave., is open to the public.
“We need to stand behind Krystal Crittendon,” Valerie Burris told City Council members at their evening community meeting June 19 on the day her sister died.
“It seems like she’s the only one following the law,” Burris explained. “The other day, I went outside. It was pitch black, and all these people were out in the streets. I asked my husband, ‘What are they doing?’ and he told me they live there, they’re homeless. Today, my sister shot and killed herself because she was so depressed. It is the policy of those who runDetroitthat is creating this situation – no streetlights, no jobs, no parks, nothing for the people.”
The City Charter requires a supermajority vote of the Council to fire Crittendon. Bing has repeatedly said that Crittendon was doing her duty as she saw fit when she filed a complaint for declaratory relief against the city’s Public Act 4 “Fiscal Stability [consent] Agreement.”
Ingham County Circuit Court Judge William Collette, saying he had his mind made up from the beginning, dismissed the complaint June 13. He did not address Crittendon’s contention that the consent agreement is void because the state owes Detroit over $230 million. Instead, he opined that the Mayor is in charge despite Charter language which gives Detroit’s Corporation Counsel broad powers, including taking judicial action.
“The Mayor hired outside counsel to advise him without getting permission from Corporation Counsel in violation of the Charter,” Angela Armstrong told the Council June 19. “Everybody else is running renegade, not Krystal Crittendon. The mayor himself said the state owes us money, but she picks up the gauntlet and SHE’s the one in trouble.”
Bing hired Michael McGee of the law firm of Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone to argue for the consent agreement prior to council’s approval of it June 4. McGee is a co-author of Public Act 4, along with other conflicts of interest.
Bing also used McGee’s firm to represent him in Collette’s court against the Corporation Counsel’s complaint.
“Under the Charter Section 7.5-201, the Corporation Counsel was duly authorized to take court action,” Edith Lee Payne told the Council. “I resent Mayor Bing’s scare tactics. If you should choose to deal with any issue, you need to bring Bing up on charges for violating Section 2.106.1 of the Charter by willfully and grossly neglecting to discharge his duties. If Gov. [Rick] Snyder wants to runDetroit, let HIM resign and just TRY to run for Mayor!”
“It is Dave Bing who needs to be brought up on charges and resign,” Cecily McClellan, a member of “FreeDetroit-No Consent,” said.
In a campaign sponsored by the group, Detroiters have so far filed 11 ethics complaints against Bing, Deputy Mayor Kirk Lewis, Chief Operating Officer Chris Brown, and City Council members Charles Pugh, Gary Brown, Saunteel Jenkins, Kenneth Cockrel, Jr. and James Tate, the “Fatal Five” who voted for the consent agreement.
Tyrone Travis called on Detroiters to take the issue to people at the offices of the Detroit Departments of Health and Wellness Promotion, Human Services and Workforce Development. The three departments have been slashed from the city’s 2012-13 budget, except for temporary transition funding while they are privatized.
A follow-up hearing on a temporary restraining order granted by Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Wendy Baxgter against the closure of the three departments, which are almost wholly federally-funded, is also set for Friday, June 22 at 11:30 a.m.in Baxter’s courtroom at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center.
“We REFUSE to consent to the hostile takeover of Detroit by the state,” Sandra Hines told the Council. “We are determined to get our city back and will continue to fight. We haven’t seen YOU fighting for us, in the back room negotiating deals. We are fighting to maintain our constitutional rights, which our fathers, mothers and their forebears fought and died for.”
Hines said she was “standing on the shoulders” of Zeline Richards, a prominent Detroiter who addressed the Council at length.
“I was born Jan. 12, 1927 here in Detroit,” Richards said. “Kenneth Cockrel, Sr. was among my students during my teaching career. They are taking us back to sharecropping days. My father was from Waynesboro, Georgia and used to plant for his father, who sharecropped. He left and came here and worked at Ford’s. I was 15 years old when the first riot in Detroit happened in 1943, and we were put out on Belle Isle. They wouldn’t let my mother teach in the Detroit Public Schools back then, but later I became Executive Director of the DPS Human Resources Department and I put a stop to all of that. I challenge you all to STAND UP AND FIGHT FOR US!”
The Detroit Free Press’ Daniel Howes condemned Bing today for allegedly not being able to get the six votes needed on City Council, calling concerns of Detroiters over the consent agreement “silly.” Several Council members including Pugh and Jenkins have said in published remarks that they will not vote to remove Crittendon.
Fitch Ratings, which along with the other Wall Street bond ratings agencies is paid by the banks, downgradedDetroit’s debt to “C” last week, citing Crittendon’s lawsuit, but also stating that the state had the means to resolve the matter.
Council members have said that the state could have just paid what it owed the city out of its surplus funds and laid the issue to rest.
Click on Bing calls CC meeting to remove Crittendon June 22 2012 to read official notice.
To read this author’s Final Call article on Crittendon’s court complaint, click on http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/National_News_2/article_8948.shtml.
To view Fox 2 News report on Judge Wendy Baxter’s temporary restraining order against the shutdown of three Detroit departments, click on: http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/18772440/2012/06/12/judge-temporarily-blocks-elimination-of-3-detroit-departments?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=7392004