Council Write Up May 26th

Council Write UP


May 26th 

Summary: It was a relatively uneventful session of formal council. The meeting was mostly marked by the standard series of appropriations and contract approvals along with some larger discussions about staff cuts and the consent agreement.


Council Atmosphere

 It must be noted that the Detroit City Council these days works in an atmosphere of general conviviality and camaraderie. There is no lack of seriousness, but jokes fly around the table, genuine laughter is not out of place, and some true friendships seem to exist between our elected representatives.


Appropriations/Contract Approvals

Council discussed appropriations and approvals from a variety of committees mentioning police helicopters, blighted land transfers for revitalization projects, and the usual sequence of parade and concert licensing approvals with recommendations from the police department.

 District System/ Member Reports

 Member reports were, as usual, enlightening. It is interesting and heartening to see the fruits of the district system borne out in the wave of community meetings that is beginning to take place over the city. Andre Spivey conducted a community meeting in District 4, Scott Benson had one in District 3, Member Castaneda Lopez and Tate continue their regularly scheduled meetings and Member Leland and Member Sheffield have had small-scale meet and greets in restaurants and businesses in their districts. The district system is allowing residents greater access to government and city services. It is also serving as an organizing framework for pre-existing community organizations to coalesce around common goals and focus on a specific governmental access point for their concerns.


IV. Checks and Balances/ Staffing Issues

An important issue was brought to the fore this Tuesday regarding council staffing. Council’s budget at present is very low and there seems to be a problem with retaining top-flight talent to staff council offices. According to several of the council members present there is an unfortunate flow of talent away from council into the Executive branch of government. Saunteel Jenkins again made her pitch that the strength of the legislative branch must be preserved if it is to remain a check on the executive. If city council is under-resourced and understaffed it cannot hope to provide and adequate check on the Mayor and those under him. 

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