Detroit Free Press Op-Ed: Detroit City Council needs a greater say over city department directors
Posted by Staff on Friday, October 28, 2011 at 12:00:00 AM EST
October 27, 2011
Guest commentary: Detroit City Council needs a greater say over city department directors
BY CHARLES PUGH
DETROIT FREE PRESS GUEST WRITER
The debate over the powers of the Detroit City Council, how much and how best to create balance between the executive and legislative branches of government, has never been a more important discussion than it is this election year.
As we move toward a council-by-district structure, the best way to ensure that Detroit City Council members are accountable to their constituents is to expand the council's confirmation authority. In the proposed City Charter, council members are provided the authority to approve or disapprove only five executive-level city officials.
However, to be responsive to the people in the districts they serve, council members will need authority to approve or disapprove all department directors. More important, council members will need reconfirmation power at the end of each fiscal year to remove a department director if we feel the person has not been competent and has no real plan to solve problems.
A perfect example is the situation facing the city's bus system. Hundreds of Detroiters have been forced to wait for hours at bus stops, miss important appointments, and in some cases lose their jobs, because the Detroit Department of Transportation cannot keep buses on the streets. It is not fair to the people who rely on public transportation in this city to be left hanging in the balance because people appointed to these executive-level positions aren't doing their jobs.
In the new council-by-district structure, there will be a heightened expectation of council members to be able to resolve constituent concerns. However, the proposed charter leaves little recourse when citizens go to their council representative for help. Without the power to affect someone's position for not doing his or her job, the limited tools available to council members are of little consequence.
In the example of the bus issue, the only way to require DDOT to be responsive to the public is if council members have the power to approve or disapprove the department's leader at the beginning of his or her appointment and at the end of each year. These confirmations and reconfirmations should only be approved with a super-majority vote. Essentially, if the majority of council members determine someone is not doing his or her job, that person should be removed.
This is not a move to take away powers from the mayor's office, but to create more balance. The mayor would continue to be responsible for daily management of departments, to prioritize funds in the budget, hire, discipline and fire. This additional check and balance, however, would ensure that residents will see more resolution to the problems plaguing our city instead of only being able to sound off without resolve.
This is not an indictment against the charter revision committee. By and large, I respect the process. However, I am disappointed that many of the suggestions that the City Council presented were not considered, namely this proposal, which will leave a gaping hole. This single issue is enough of an oversight for me to vote no on the proposal so that this commission is forced back to the table to make revisions.
Given the unprecedented challenges facing our city today as we struggle to keep buses on the streets and to keep the lights on, I believe the city needs a district-led City Council that has the authority to make sure that the people remain the city's first priority.
Charles Pugh is president of the Detroit City Council.
DPD Alert Network - receive email and texts alerts
Posted by Staff on Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 10:00:00 AM EST
You can now receive email and texts alerts from the Detroit Police Department on crimes trends, description of wanted suspects, missing persons, and crime prevention and safety tips. To sign up for alerts click here. The DPD Alert Network is designed to build a strong alliance between the community and police. With your help we can work to make Detroiter a safer city. We need you to be the extra eyes and ears in your neighborhood. Submit your crime tips anonymously by clicking here or from you cell phone by texting TIP to 847411.
City of Detroit Block Party Application and Guidelines
Posted by Staff on Monday, April 18, 2011 at 12:00:00 PM EST
The city of Detroit has established a new Block Party application process.
Download City of Detroit Block Party Application and Guidelines
Applicants wishing to hold a Block Party on a residential street must submit the application to their local Detroit Police Precinct 30 days prior to the date of the proposed party.
If you are planning an upcoming Block Party in the city of Detroit here’s what you need to know:
-Only Block Clubs or Condo/Apartment Associations registered with the Community Access Centers are permitted to submit a Block Party Application.
-The Block Party applicant must be the President/Chair of a registered Block Club or Condo/Apartment Association and reside on the block.
-In order for the street to be closed, 75% approval of the households residing on the block involved is required.
-A refundable security deposit of $75 (money order/cashier check) is required for the retrieval of four barricades form the Detroit Police Department.
-Block Parties are permitted from 10 a.m - 9 p.m.
Guidelines and restrictions read more.
Related stories: How To Start a Block Club
Bank on Detroit
Posted by Staff on Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 10:00:00 AM EST
Bank on Detroit is a collaborative effort to increase banked households in the city of Detroit by 10% by 2013. Bank on Detroit will work to bring 10,000 of the city’s estimated 50,000 unbanked households into the financial mainstream.
The City Council, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the United Way, the Detroit Alliance for Fair Banking, the Accounting Aid Society and a coalition of banks and credit unions have a plan in place to work together to:
-Increase the supply of starter account products that work for the low-income unbanked market by developing baseline product criteria that must be offered by all participating financial institutions.
-Raise awareness among unbanked consumers about the benefits of account ownership and spur them to open accounts.
-Clamp down on the proliferation of check cashers and payday lenders.
-Raise city-wide awareness of the unbanked problem and potential solutions.
Make quality money management education more easily available to low-income Detroiters.
*Bank on Detroit is a coalition founded by the City of Detroit, in partnership with the Detroit Alliance for Fair Banking, the United Way of Southeast Michigan, financial institutions, community-based organizations, the Alliance for Economic Inclusion Southeast Michigan and other partners focused on enhancing the economic well-being of unbanked and underserved populations in the City of Detroit.*
Posted by Staff on Friday, February 11, 2011 at 12:00:00 PM EST
We thank everyone who came out to support Hug Detroit - in an effort to break the Guinness World Record for the largest Group Hug Saturday.
More than 10,000 people were asked to gather around Campus Martius in an attempt to break the record set in Transylvania in 2009 for the most hugs at one time.
Check back here at pughandyou.com to see if we set a new record!
Tags: Fun In Detroit
City Council President Charles Pugh meets with the Detroit Venture Partners - a firm looking to invest millions in start-up tech companies
Posted by Staff on Thursday, February 03, 2011 at 11:00:00 AM EST
City Council President Charles Pugh recently met with the of the Detroit Venture Partners.
The Detroit Venture Partners is a firm who’s mission is to help rebuild the Detroit area through entrepreneurial fire. The Detroit Venture Partners plans to invest early stage financing in start-up web and mobile tech companies.
According to Xconomy Detroit, “Detroit Venture Partners is looking to close between six and eight deals [this] year, and will kick that range up to 10 to 15 deals in 2012, Linkner says. Each check will initially be worth between $250,000 and $750,000, but the firm could pump a total of $2 million to $3 million into each company in its portfolio, counting follow-on rounds.”
The firm officially opened its doors on November 1st, with a team that includes Josh Linkner (DVP CEO / Managing Partner), founder & chairman of ePrize; Dan Gilbert (DVP General Partner); founder and chairman of Quicken Loans and majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Brian Hermelin (DVP General Partner) founder & chairman of Rockbridge Growth Equity, Chairman of Active Aero Group.
Free Admission and Extended Holiday Hours at the Detroit Historical Museum
Posted by Staff on Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 12:00:00 PM EST
As a special "thank you" to the community for its support during these challenging economic times, the Detroit Historical Society is offering free admission to the Detroit Historical Museum this holiday season, as well as extended visitor hours.
The museum will be open from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. every day from Sunday, December 26 – Sunday, January 2, 2011 (except New Year’s Day).
NOTE: The Detroit Historical Museum will be closed on December 24 and December 25 in observance of the Christmas Holiday as well as on January 1, 2011.
City Council President Charles Pugh talks with WJLB
Posted by Staff on Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 2:00:00 PM EST
Listen to City Council President Charles Pugh talk with WJLB's morning show about DPD's Gun Buy Back program.
The Detroit Police Department will pay cash to people who turn in guns today from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Second Ebenezer Church, 14601 Dequindre.
Police will pay $25 for nonworking guns; $50 for working guns; and $100 for assault weapons. Up to two weapons can be turned in.
Police will accept unloaded weapons on a first-come, first-served basis.
To listen to the interview click here.
Let's Work Together To Prevent Violent Crimes
Posted by Staff on Monday, December 13, 2010 at 1:00:00 AM EST
We need your help making Detroit a safer city. With all us working together we can reduce crime in our community. We invite you to join us at a town hall meeting called "Let's Work Together To Prevent Violent Crimes" on Tuesday, Dec. 14.
Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh will moderate the meeting, which will run 6-8 p.m. at Second Ebenezer Church in Detroit - located at 14601 Dequindre Road.
The town hall meeting will offer residents a chance to voice concerns, discuss ways to target violent crimes and ask questions of law enforcement officials with the FBI, Detroit police and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, among others.
The meeting is hosted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Bishop Edgar Vann, II. Speakers will include U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee Jr. and Andrew Arena, special agent in charge of the Detroit FBI office.???
DTE Energy and THAW Partner to Help Detroiters Stay Warm
Posted by Staff on Thursday, December 02, 2010 at 12:00:00 PM EST
As the days get shorter and the nights get colder, many Detroiters are wondering how they are going to manage their energy bills. In response, DTE Energy – in partnership with The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) – is hosting a "Weekend of Giving," December 10 – 13, to raise $1 million for local residents who are struggling to pay their utility bills.
The "Weekend of Giving" begins Friday, December 10, with THAW's annual "Night of Warm Hearts" fundraising event at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel in downtown Detroit. City Council President Charles Pugh will host the event, which includes a VIP reception, silent auction, strolling dinner, special award presentations, dancing and entertainment by Modern Tribe featuring Charles and Gwen Scales.
The next evening, Saturday, December 11, will be "Hallelujah for Heat," an inspirational, fundraising gospel concert featuring contemporary vocalist Deitrick Haddon and the Voices of Unity. Other concert highlights will include special guest Tramaine Hawkins, a two-time Grammy Award winner and well-known gospel artist; Detroit's own Charles Martin; and the DSA Choir, a Detroit Public School choir made up of students from the Detroit School of the Fine and Performing Arts. The 3,000-seat Second Ebenezer Baptist Church located on Dequindre in Detroit is the spectacular venue for "Hallelujah for Heat."
The weekend concludes on Monday, December 13, with DTE Energy's Customer Assistance Day at Cobo Hall. Every dollar raised during the weekend will be distributed to customers who are struggling to pay their energy bills and maintain their service. Human services, wellness, and credit and housing agencies will join DTE Energy and THAW in providing much needed assistance. Qualified low income customers are urged to pre-register by phoning (877) 245-7084 by December 3.
For more information about the "Weekend of Giving" events, go to www.dteenergy.com/giving.