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City disregards Charter mandates

By Marcus Wright
Special to Michigan Citizen

DETROIT — The city of Detroit is batting 3-for-7 in its implementation of the new provisions mandated by the 2012 Charter.

The new provisions include Council by Districts; City Insurance; Community Advisory Councils; Green Initiatives; Debarment Ordinance; Contract Approval and Disclosure; Redundancy Report Issued; Appointment of Inspector General.

Districts are done. The City Council, with the assistance of the Planning Commission, has drawn the boundaries. And the City Clerk has uploaded a Web page on the city’s Web site to disclose contracts.

An inspector general, James Heath, was recently appointed, according to Naomi Patton, Mayor Bing’s press secretary. However, none of the other mandates have begun or been completed.

The Michigan Citizen spoke extensively with Alexander Derdelakos, creator of DetCharter.com — an independent, citizen-operated organization founded to educate the community on the actions taken by the Charter Commission while providing a forum for citizen input.

Derdlakos said he spoke with the head of The Department of Public Works about the Green Initiatives. The Charter mandates the city study and implement a long-term strategic plan that includes green initiatives, technologies and businesses.

According to Derdelako, the director of Public Works said the department is slowly making progress on the plan but offered nothing to back up his assertion.

“The plan is to be finalized and released to the public by the end of March 2013, so my guess is that they’re in no rush to finish it at this point,” Derdelakos said.

The Michigan Citizen attempted to talk to Gerald Hurd in the Building Safety and Engineering Department, but Hurd had not returned calls by press time.

Mayor Dave Bing has been questioned several times at community meetings about implementation of City Insurance. According to the Charter Commission’s timetable, a public report was due Feb. 29, 2012. However, the Mayor’s staff seemed to know nothing about the report and said they would get back with the questioner.

Derdelakos said he has been in contact with City Councilmember James Tate’s office regarding the Community Advisory Councils. He said Councilmember Tate has issued a formal request to corporation counsel to clarify Charter language on the councils.

Calls made to the City Council and mayor’s office regarding the Debarment Ordinance were not returned. Whether the ordinance has been written and whether the Redunancy Report had seen any movement could not be verified at this time.

At the first Charter-required mayor’s District Community Meeting, held in Rosedale, when questioned about the redundancy report, the mayor and his staff did not answer.

The city Clerk’s posting of contracts can viewed at www.detroitmi.gov/DepartmentsandAgencies/CityClerk/ApprovedCityContracts.aspx.

Contact Marcus Wright at marcuswright@michigancitizen.com

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