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Detroit Charter Commission ready to get down to work

Detroit may see its most sweeping political reforms in decades in 2011.

 The city’s Charter Commission will really get down to work next year.

 Detroiters voted to open the city charter up for change in mid-2009.

 Now, the charter’s fate lies in the hands of the nine elected Charter Commission members. Their work will come under intense scrutiny.

Both Mayor Dave Bing’s office and the Detroit City Council have offered their suggestions for revisions.

The Mayor’s office wants more unilateral control over hiring contractors, and to get rid of the city Ombudsman.

The Council wants to add two people for a total of 11 members. They also want the ability to talk directly with city department heads, something the current Charter prohibits.

The Charter Commission must submit a final document to the Governor and state Attorney General for approval by mid-year.

Final approval rests with Detroit voters, who will decide the issue on the November ballot.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.