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Detroit Tackles Corruption With Proposed Charter Changes

Monday, May. 9, 2011

Seeking to restore public confidence in local government, The Detroit City Council has released an 82-page draft document proposing comprehensive changes to provide more transparency and greater representation for the citizens.

The chairwoman of the Detroit Charter Revision Commission said that these changes were prompted by citizens who were fed up with the culture of corruption in the city.

Among the significant proposals is a move to elections by geographic districts. If this is passed on November 8 ballot, there will be a major shift in the politics of the city, putting it on par with many cities of similar size.

A series of embarrassing scandals over the past few years have harmed public confidence in city government, according to the commission. “I think the people feel that if they had their eye closer on the issue, or had their hand in (government), this would have never happened.”

The commission is also proposing several significant changes in the ethics rules of the city charter. Among the new provisions are stricter reporting requirements for lobbyists, increased citizen participation, and greater powers given to the Council.

To enact the changes, the voters will decide on the following recommendations:

• To create an office of the inspector general to investigate waste, abuse, corruption and fraud.

• To require all lobbyists and contractors to disclose political contributions.

• To create community advisory councils for each new district.

• To require individuals to live in the city for one year before they can run for political office.

• To give the council authority to approve the appointment of the police chief and selected other employees.

Tags: city charters, corruption, Detroit, elections, lobbying, public trust, transparency

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