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Why are Bill Schuette and Ruth Johnson so intent on punishing the people of Troy?

by: Eric B.

Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 10:14:35 AM EST


Everyone knows that there are two basic kinds of municipal governments in Michigan. There is the strong mayor, otherwise known as council-mayor, in which the elected mayor manages the city's administration in concert with the elected council. Then, there is the council-manager system, in which a hired professional bureaucrat administers the city and who answers to an elected council. That second form of government still has a mayor, but that person is mostly just a member of council and the title mayor mostly means he or she just marries people and cuts ribbons. It's a largely ceremonial title.

Last month, the people of Troy recalled their mayor, Janice Daniels, because she was an embarrassment to the town. Chiefly, we know about her through anti-gay slurs she posted to Facebook. But, she also shitcanned a transit center on the grounds that it would bring the wrong element -- i.e. brown people -- to town, and refused to swear loyalty to the city charter, the document ironically that empowers the mayor. Ultimately, they recalled her because she'd made the mayor into something that the mayor of that system of government isn't intended to be, which is the public face of the municipality, and it wasn't pretty.

But, she was a Tea Party person, which perhaps explains why Bill Schuette and Ruth Johnson are so intent on enforcing election law that will ultimately cost the city $50,000 ... which is probably the annual salary of a cop or firefighter.

Instead, City Council members have appointed one of their own, Dane Slater, to serve as interim mayor until the 2013 November election.

That's far too long to deny the citizens of Troy elected leadership.

And allowing Slater to serve as the de facto incumbent for such an extended period of time would give him an unfair advantage over competitors should he decide to run for the seat next fall.

Troy is threatening to fight the state in court.

Johnson has filed suit to force the special election, and is supported by Attorney General Bill Schuette, who says that state law is clear that the vote must be held.

Troy City Attorney Lori Grigg Bluhm counters that Troy's charter allows for the appointment, and that the city's position is compatible with a state law she says is ambiguous.

That's from the Detroit News' editorial ordering the city of Troy to hold an election. The editorial also dismisses the argument of cost on the grounds that fighting the state in court would cost the city even more than that, which is the same thing as saying that if you get punched by someone who'd kick your ass in a stand-up fight that you ought not defend yourself in the first place.

Normally, I think it's important for governments to hold elections that are required. In this case, however, it's appears to be all about petty retribution against the city. Waiting until 2013 deprives the city of nothing more than one more member of council since the mayor there has no special governance duties, unless a riot breaks out.

Eric B. :: Why are Bill Schuette and Ruth Johnson so intent on punishing the people of Troy?
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