The Custodian of the City Seal trying To Go Rogue.

So who has the right to negotiation with the unions in the City? Someone sure thinks they have that rights and it’s not the Mayor. This is a person who thinks that they can take matters into their own hands , no matter how the City works, and meet with the AFSCME union to negotiate with them. The CITY CLERK has no authority to meet with the union and was trying to go behind the backs of the administration to discuss with AFSCME the new position that he is hoping to create. This has never been done that a Union Position is joined with a non-union tested civil service position. The Council secretary is in the union, the Deputy position is a civil service position and an extensive testing process, with interviews conducted with clerks outside of our City. The Administration got word that the Clerk wanted to meet with the union to work out a deal with them. As you can imagine, the Mayor put a stop to it and right so. Does the Clerk think that with his new title he is able to throw out all rules that have been in place since the beginning. Talk about a title going to one’s head. You are still a mortal, Mr. Clerk.

There has been a process in place for negotiation with the unions and I don’t believe that you are included in that. Although, you seem to think that you can do anything you please because you were ELECTED. WRONG.

Here are the duties of the Clerk according to our city charter:

Section 5.5. – Duties of the City Clerk.


The City Clerk shall be Clerk of the Council and shall attend all meetings of the Council and keep a permanent journal of its proceedings in the English language;


He shall keep a record of all ordinances, resolutions, and actions of the Council;


He shall have power to administer all oaths required by State Law, this Charter and the ordinances of the City;


He shall be custodian of the City seal, and shall affix it to all documents and instruments requiring the seal, and shall attest the same;


He shall be the custodian of all papers, documents, and records pertaining to the City, the custody of which is not otherwise provided for by this Charter;


He shall give the proper officials of the City ample notice of the expiration or termination of any official bonds, franchises, contracts, or agreements;


He shall issue and sign all licenses granted after the license fee has been paid to the City Treasurer, and shall register the same;


He shall possess and exercise the powers of a township clerk so far as the same are required to be performed within the City;


He shall certify by his signature all ordinances and resolutions enacted or passed by the Council;


He shall countersign all warrants in accordance with the provisions of Section 8.9 of this Charter;


He shall perform such other duties as are required of him by State or Federal law, this Charter, the Mayor and the Council or the ordinances of the City.

I understand he’s an elected official so are the Council who don’t meet with or negotiate with any union nor does the Treasurer who is elected. That’s all this City needs each head of department taking it upon themselves to meet with any given union to get something for their department.

The Mayor made it very clear to our City Clerk that he did not approve of what he was asking for. He said that he had asked all of his department heads to put off hiring and to cut as much as they can. To that the Clerk replied, I’m elected and you have nothing to do with my department or my budget. The Mayor can veto his budget so yes he can say something about it he doesn’t have to put the Clerks budget as is in his final budget. The Council who have the final say about this most certainly do not have to approve his budget I expect them as the keepers of the money to make the right decision.

*This disappeared off the blog for a few days sorry about that..

23 thoughts on “The Custodian of the City Seal trying To Go Rogue.”

  1. One additional comment in regards to the Mayors’ Assistant lacking a college degree. People need to quit criticizing that, it isn’t a legitimate critique. There are many many qualified and intelligent people with “only” high school diplomas that can work circles around people with college degrees, and I believe Marge Horvath is one of them. When criticism is made such as that it shows its just a personal dislike of the person and this Mayors’ Administration has plenty of “legitimate faults” we can point out that will be far more effective.


  2. Why is the Clerk trying to turn a presently “management” position into a “union” position. The way it is set-up is so that when you are elected to a position such as his or the Mayor, it allows you more freely select who will be your second in command so that you will be more affective in fulfilling your agenda etc. The issue is not trying to negotiate with the union, the issue is why would you as a manager want to make that change? The answer, obviously, is there is a union employee he already has selected for the position and is now attempting to accommodate that person and his desire to have that person. Nothing else would make sense from a qualified managers viewpoint.


  3. She doesn’t have a disability she just doesn’t get up from behind her desk. She didn’t come to the counter for me either and I was informed that the clerk wasn’t there, and I could come back later.


  4. I would all so say the council did send them back to the table with a list of what they wanted. They did not have a representative from the council at the table. They have no way of knowing if what they asked for was even discussed. They did not get the transcripts of the mediation- negotiation to my knowledge not one council member knows what happened.
    Something I think should be changed going forward with any negotiation. Someone with experience with numbers on the council should be at the table, or hire someone. Money may be short, but the potential for saving thousands is a real possibility.


  5. Bargaining “in good faith” means you send those involved to the table to discuss what each side wants and what options are available to each side. You DO NOT send someone to the table who has neither a college education nor any bargaining/union experience to negotiate contracts. She gave away the farm and our mayor was nowhere around.


  6. Yes, I’m sure it’s the DPW who cleans up the alley. They DO NOT contract it out. I’m not afraid to let my city know they did a job that is unacceptable. If you could have seen the mess they left, you’d have been furious, too.


  7. I called the City about a tree (next door, at a vacant house) that fell in the street during the last windstorm. Within less than an hour of my call, they came by and moved the fallen branches onto the easement so traffic could use that side of the street. The following day, they brought a wood chipper and removed the branches, wood chips and all. I thought they did a GREAT JOB!


  8. Sorry, but it’s not all pansies and rainbows like you paint the picture of unions. I just have to laugh at “bargaining in good faith” especially after learning about how a certain union negotiator and city representative allegedly “negotiated”. And a good portion of what you refer to as “organizational structure” is really bureaucracy in the real world. Not everything and everyone with unions is bad, but look at what’s hurting us with this system and fix it before it’s too late.

    As for the Clerk, I’m trying to keep an open mind and give him a chance and I think others should too. He’s trying to make the best of a lousy situation. You can’t chop off both of someone’s hands and tell them “quit complaining, you still have two feet don’t you?” If the “system” needs to change to be of better benefit to us taxpayers then let’s see some change for the better.


  9. If you know what you are talking about, and are honest about it, then you would know how much the unions are costing this city unnecessarily. Unions should be there to prevent exploitation of workers, not to exploit the employers. As a taxpaper I am disgusted to see how my tax dollars are wasted.

    The city is prevented many times from hiring part time help (which saves us taxpayers money, duh!) because the union takes them to court to force them to unnecessarily hire full timers to do part time work. Heck, somebody sneezes in a way they don’t like and someone files a grievance…and yep, even that costs us money. Also, DPW will have 3 workers on a site: 2 working and 1 standing around watching as “supervisor”….WTF??? How about 2 workers, one of which has responsibility as supervisor for the two of them but actually works in the process. It’s WASTE! Look what happened in Detroit from everyone milking the system. We’re next! Now even management is doing it, and why not, if the union people get to milk the city why not give everyone an equal opportunity!


  10. Generally grass cutting is done by companies that contract with the city. Are you sure that city employees left the mess? Calling DPW to let them know that a contractor left a mess is a good idea. Being furious with the city might not be. Obviously DPW did their job and contacted the contractor because someone was back out there the next day.

    I think both you and Max are right about people taking some responsibility themselves. We’ve become a society where it’s always up to someone else to “clean up the mess”. Personal responsibility seems to be lacking in so many areas of our lives. If we deplore the conditions around us, we must be part of the solution.


  11. God I HATE to agree with BigDog but leaving a mess in the street after you do a job is unacceptable. Sorry, Max, but it’s not BigDog’s job to clean up after our city workers. They should have cleaned up after themselves. Personally, I’d call the city and tell them to come back and clean up their mess. Perhaps if more citizens did that, they’d make sure they didn’t leave a mess. Last year, after the city came through and cut the high weeds in the alley behind my house, they cut half the alley and left weeds and small tree limbs all over the place. I figured they weren’t done and when they didn’t return the next day, I called the Public Works Dept. and left a furious message telling the head of the department that they left a mess in the alley and I wanted it cleaned up. They were back the day after. I’ll be the first one to tell them they’ve done a good job and I have done that. I’ve made sure I was out there to tell them before they left. But I DO NOT and WILL NOT accept a job half done, especially since I’m back paying more taxes. I still hate that BigDog calls this Detroit Heights because I think there’s no comparison. And if you can’t get satisfaction from the city after calling to complain BD, then Max is right. Get out there and pick it up yourself. Part of what makes Detroit, Detroit is that the citizens don’t do anything to clean up their neighborhoods.


  12. “Wasting time over union crap” means bargaining in good faith, honoring contracts (which has both moral and legal connotations), following the rules and trying to maintain what little organizational structure remains in this city. If we stop doing these things, the only result is chaos. And no good ever came from chaos.

    As for “those who are trying to do thier jobs better” — if you mean the Clerk, you need to take a good long look at his performance and be sure you really feel that statement is accurate. Apparently he is unaware that he has no legal standing to negotiate contracts and is trying to undermine the authority of the mayor (like him or not, he’s still the city’s administrator). If the Clerk were mayor (as I’m sure he hopes to be), he wouldn’t stand for someone else to intrude upon his domain. He complains about his lack of staff as though no one else is experiencing a staffing shortage. A good manager sees a problem, creates a the best solution possible under the circumstances and doesn’t whine about it. Right now all I see is too much whining, not enough doing.


  13. So, we should let each department head hire whomever they want, then, if it turns out they are “wasting” money, we should then go after them! Of course each department had would request additional staffing! That is a no brainer! What takes brains is running your department with the staffing you have! How do you “go after” people AFTER they have wasted city/tax payer money? And, as far as “union crap”, please educate yourself on what the unions have done for this city, state and nation! While I may not always agree with the unions, they have provided a living wage to millions of workers.


  14. Seriously, you couldn’t pick up the water bottle? I guess you are part of the problem, not the solution. You have just shown that to everyone! Good Job! Keep up the good work and keep complaining! It shows how smart and intuitive you are! Good work!!!




  16. It seems to me I posted a comment when you first posted this subject yet I don’t see it. My first comment was that if the mayor will allow his “assistant” to negotiate and she only has a high school education, why can’t the Clerk? What’s that you say? It’s not his job? IT’S NOT HERS EITHER. It’s the mayor’s. But I will say the Clerk most likely has far more education than she to do it intelligently. All kidding aside, why is he going over the mayor’s head? Did the council turn him down initially? Let me tell you if I had know he was going to be such a cry baby, I’d never have voted for him. You know, Mr. Clerk? In BIG business, everyone is taking on more and more with fewer and fewer people. If you didn’t spend so much time complaining, you might find you can get a lot done.


  17. Wait a minute. Who negotiated the contracts with the police department? Wasn’t it our wonderful high school degree only Assistant to the Mayor? If our mayor will allow her to negotiate, why can’t the Clerk? I know, I know. I do agree that neither of them should be negotiating. Why would the clerk even ask? Was this position he wants added to his department turned down by the council and he’s trying to go over their heads to get what he wants? Lord. If this doesn’t convince people that this mayor doesn’t have control of the city they’re not paying attention.


  18. What a waste of time and resources. Our city is in serious debt, not to mention starting to look like a ghetto too, and they’re wasting time over union crap. I say let people hire who they need to be more efficient and get to work fixing our real problems. If it turns out money’s being wasted, then go after people. But instead we turn a blind eye to those not doing their jobs and attack those who are trying to do their jobs better. Looks to me like we’re starting to act like Detroit here!


  19. Where do we find these people who think they our God? The Clerk needs to be put in his place and quick. Please check the air quality at city hall — something is making some people who work there lose their mind!


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