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Detroit Council ignores Snyder, approves proposed charter amendments for the ballot

Despite opposition from Governor Snyder, the Detroit City Council voted to put four proposed charter amendments on the November ballot.

Detroit and Lansing went through a long, contentious process before the two sides reached a consent agreement to keep the city from going broke.

But that agreement has faced resistance from some Council members.

They supported Detroit’s corporation counsel, Krystal Crittendon, in her efforts to invalidate the agreement, on the grounds it violated the new city charter. Detroit voters approved a new city charter with a strong focus on ethics and preventing corruption.

An Ingham County judge threw the case out because he said Crittendon had no authority to bring it. But one of the Council-approved amendments would give Crittendon broader power to challenge perceived charter violations.

Council members also argue that some of the charter’s new rules are too strict.

One amendment would override a rule that bans Council members from accepting any gifts. The Council proposes instead to make guidelines for acceptable gifts.

Another would lift the ban on former city officials or appointees getting another city job within a year of leaving. Council members argue they should have the discretion to bring people back under a personal contract.

Governor Snyder isn’t happy about most of this. He said in a letter to Crittendon that the changes “appear to signal a retreat from the ethical standards set by the charter, and I cannot support them.”

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.
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