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Bing visits council, wants to unite

Mayor Dave Bing

Mayor Dave Bing

By Mike Sandula
The Michigan Citizen

DETROIT — A day after being visited by Mayor Dave Bing, Detroit City Council found itself flummoxed by his administration’s executive organization plan at its formal session Oct. 23.

Detroit Animal Control, which was previously under the umbrella of the Department of Health and Wellness Promotion (DHWP), has been under the purview of the police department since Oct. 1. However, the transfer did not include a budget, so Animal Control has been without a staff veterinarian since then, meaning they are unable to sign off on the health of animals, which has left some families unable to retrieve their pets.

“I’m just baffled that no one brought this to the attention of Council sooner,” said Councilmember Ken Cockrel, Jr.

Council will meet in an adjourned session to approve a three-week budget extension to bring the staff veterinarian back immediately. However, the executive organization plan that allowed for the transfer of Animal Control from DHWP to the police department was never approved by Council, as Councilmember JoAnn Watson pointed out.

“They’re using city phones and services without our approval like they own it,” said Watson. Council is postponing action on the matter until facilitation is complete.

On Oct. 23, Mayor Dave Bing briefly appeared before Council, alongside State Treasurer Andy Dillon and members of the Financial Advisory Board.

“We need to start affecting change, not talking about change,” said Bing, who had been dissatisfied with Council’s pace in moving along his reform agenda.

Council President Charles Pugh, who met with Bing last week to set up the meeting, said he accepted the mayor’s olive branch, but said Council moves at a deliberate speed.

“We have never been why the process takes too long,” Pugh said. “Our job is to be the watchdog.”

Bing said he’d like to see a request for proposal go out before giving out a new management contract for the Detroit Department of Transportation. He also said he’s expressed to corporation counsel and the law department that he’d like the law firm Miller Canfield to continue to represent him on “certain issues.”

In other Council activities:

  • A budget amendment restoring $45 million in assumed cost savings to the fiscal year 2012-13 budget was approved
  • The restoration of contractual funding in the amount of $648,183.76 to the Department of Administrative Hearings was approved
  • A Federal Transit Administration and Michigan Department of Transportation project for $1.9 million in appropriations to spend on access to jobs and related employment services for low-income individuals
  • A $1.5 million contract to provide occupational health care services for all city departments was sent back to committee

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