Dearborn Heights City Council Voted By Email…

Violation of the Open Meetings Act
Violation of the Open Meetings Act

At the CCM on 9-9-2014 8-B on the agenda 3 foreclosed properties from Wayne county for $20,140.76. Council approved this, but taxpayers of Dearborn Heights would you be interested to know that the council had already approved that by doing a vote via email. That’s right and the check was cut and delivered to Wayne county. What we all saw last night at the council meeting was just a show. What you dear public are watching during that vote is a fantasy. Now I’m sure this was time sensitive and had to be done ASAP. When did the Mayor get notified of these homes? I don’t know, but the Council Chair could have called for an emergency meeting on camera and voted it. While the council and this Mayor want to deny us our rights to have better communication, while certain council members insult us for asking for it. They have no problem using this ‘technology’ when it’s convenient for them. How many times over the years has this happened and we have no idea that it did? How many times have they played out this show for us? The new normal to violate the opens meetings act. Then I think at the very least that vote done by email and any correspondence should have been added to the agenda for all of us to see.

They haven’t brought this type of voting before the residents to ask us how we feel about it. The Mayor made it very clear last night that this will be happening again when properties come up to buy. Another words when this happens we can vote via email again guys. Guess what,  this is only the beginning whats to stop them from doing it for other things? Nothing. Once it’s done it can be done again and again. All of us never the wiser to whats taken place just like last night. I say NO to that as a taxpayer I’m asking for the Council Chair to post all email correspondence from,

All meetings of a public body shall be open to the public and shall be held in a place available
to the general public. All persons shall be permitted to attend any meeting except as otherwise provided in this
act.

1. Council chair to all council members

2 Responses from council members and council chair

3. Any written questions to council chair, the Mayor or any attorney

4. The vote and how the vote was done was this done on a conference call or by email?

5. All correspondence with the Treasurer of Dearborn Heights, and any correspondence with the Wayne County treasurer.

I want the written law showing that the council chair, the Mayor, and the council had a right to do this. If there isn’t a written law what punishment is available to the residents against the elected officials in the City of Dearborn Heights.

#violation #openmeetingsact #dearbornheights

 Up Date, The City was notified via email on July 2, 2014 about these homes more than enough time to put on the agenda in July, August. No reason I can see for the Email Vote…

15.263
Meetings, decisions, and deliberations of public body; requirements; attending or
addressing meeting of public body; tape-recording, videotaping, broadcasting, and
telecasting proceedings; rules and regulations; exclusion from meeting; exemptions.
Sec. 3.
(1)
All meetings of a public body shall be open to the public and shall be held in a place available
to the general public. All persons shall be permitted to attend any meeting except as otherwise provided in this
act. The right of a person to attend a meeting of a public body includes the right to tape-record, to videotape,
to broadcast live on radio, and to telecast live on television the proceedings of a public body at a public
meeting. The exercise of this right shall not be dependent upon the prior approval of the public body.
However, a public body may establish reasonable rules and regulations in order to minimize the possibility of
disrupting the meeting.
(2)
All decisions of a public body shall be made at a meeting open to the public.
(3)
All deliberations of a public body constituting a quorum of its members shall take place at a meeting
open to the public except as provided in this section and sections 7 and 8.
(4)
A person shall not be required as a condition of attendance at a meeting of a public body to register or
otherwise provide his or her name or other information or otherwise to fulfill a condition precedent to
attendance.
(5)
A person shall be permitted to address a meeting of a public body under rules established and recorded
by the public body. The legislature or a house of the legislature may provide by rule that the right to address
may be limited to prescribed times at hearings and committee meetings only.
(6)
A person shall not be excluded from a meeting otherwise open to the public except for a breach of the
peace actually committed at the meeting.
(7)
This act does not apply to the following public bodies only when deliberating the merits of a case:
Rendered Friday, September 5, 2014
Page 1
Michigan Compiled Laws Complete Through PA 280 of 2014
Legislative Council, State of Michigan
Penalties for OMA violations –
a public official who “intentionally violates” the OMA may be
found guilty of a misdemeanor16 and may be personally liable for actual and exemplary damages of not more than $500 for a single meeting.17
The exemptions in the OMA must be strictly construed. The “rule of lenity” (i.e., courts should mitigate punishment when the punishment in the criminal statute is unclear) does not apply to construction of the OMA’s exemptions.
18
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12 thoughts on “Dearborn Heights City Council Voted By Email…”

  1. Sparrow, are you seriously watching the same council meetings that I am? I do agree with one thought of yours: name calling and personal attacks should be omitted. Beyond that I not sure that the rising of one’s voice or occasional name calling, that you mention, is really impacting “their ability to effectively govern and is counterproductive to constructive contribution”. However I do think it is the inability of some or refusal of some to respond completely or truthfully to tough questions, that is affecting the whole council and administrations ability to govern and angering residents to the point of name calling and raised voice . We the people are calling them to task. We want them to be factual and straight forward. We can agree to disagree but deception and deferral is not what we elected them for. Even if in the comment process, we cross the line, it still does not excuse this particular issue at hand. How can they even sleep at night when they are fighting technology on one front and using it to exploit a loop hole in another? Shame on them. And by the way, there is no topic out of bounds. I did not say anything last night because I was un-aware of the facts. We will continue to ask the tough questions and continue to demand complete and truthful responses.

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  2. Just like i said before what a waste of time to go to a CLOWN SHOW. Get with the program people city council and the Mayor don.t care about US.Yell all you want they don’t CARE.

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  3. Sparrow:

    If there was no secret vote why we’re the properties purchased by the city of DH on 9-3-14?
    Just check the Wayne county website! It’s all there for everyone to see,

    This date is obviously BEFORE the council meeting of 9/9/14!!

    There was not an informal canvas!! . Just ask Lisa H-C,,

    Since the notice from the county was sent July 2nd (look at the backups on the city website), the city had sufficient tie to submit their request to the council.

    And yes, the council should be versed in explaining what they voted on, especially when spending taxpayer money,

    If the citizens don’t hold them accountable who will?

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  4. Sparrow

    Again I say this was put on the agenda after the Vote them putting it on there and putting on a show vote was for nothing. They already voted for it I don’t know what part of that you think is okay, but again you are entitled to your opinion.

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  5. There was no secret vote. It was on the agenda. It was open for discussion and it was voted on in public. Everyone seemed happy it was done, even those there with issues.

    If it was done in secret, it would have not even been on the agenda at all.

    And I am not a proponent of name calling no matter whom or what is being discussed. And I do not feel it is the council’s job to be abused. I will never feel that way regardless of whom is on it, whether that is you or anyone else. It lowers the level of civil discourse and less gets accomplished.

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  6. Sparrow

    Pardon me maybe you did not read the post right this wasn’t a canvas this was a vote here’s what Councilwoman Hicks-Clayton replied on FB

    Lisa Hicks-Clayton City Council was contacted via e-mail August 29, 2014 to approve the purchase of the 3 properties. Council was advised there was a limited time to approve. I voted no via the e-mail correspondence, as I felt 1) did not approve the method for approval and 2) had questions I felt should be answered to make an informed decision in the best interest of our City and residents. I voted yes, once I had the information needed.

    I would like to point out as I said the Check was written and delivered before last nights vote. Furthermore, the Mayor was notified on July 2, 2014 about these homes. I’m sorry if you feel that asking our council to know what they are spending our money on is insulting them. I’m sorry if asking our council and Mayor to live up to what they took office to up hold is attacking them. I’m sorry if your feel that wanting more from your City is a problem for you. I’d like to point out that they treat us with just as much disrespect. You might have missed the older post when council members went as far as to call us a bunch of whiners, and giveme, giveme people. Why? Oh my gosh, because we god forbid asked for Nixle and a Facebook page.
    I did look in the mirror twice when I ran for City Council, and yes I asked myself if I could take what they are getting? The answer was yes if I was doing what they are doing I best be prepared to handle what I’m going to get from the public for it. However, I would hope that I would never cast a vote via email nor would I not let the public know that it had taken place. I’m well aware of informal canvas of members I have heard it before this wasn’t the case that’s why I didn’t include it in the post. Next I had this information long before the meeting and knew when they took the vote that they had already sent the check to Wayne county. I attended the meeting hoping that the council chair or the Mayor would say to the public that this had taken place, and that they already voted. I was hoping to have the emails there for the public to look at. If that would have happened I would not have written about this, but it didn’t. Then even last night I thought well maybe the Mayor didn’t get the information in time from the county and that’s why. You see I did think about those things and I asked today and found out when the Mayor was notified about the homes.
    If you think that its okay to vote in secret and hide that vote from the public. Then come to the council meeting have a vote for the public to see all the while hiding the fact that they’ve already voted and paid. You are more than intitled to be fine with that and I respect that, but respect the fact that I’m not. Respect the fact that a law was violated here and respect the fact that we do have a right to know what they are doing. That’s the whole reason for the OMA in the first place.
    The anger that you see at council meetings hasn’t come out of thin air there is a reason for it. Have you asked yourself why people are so angry?

    Thank you Sparrow for commenting it’s always good to get another perspective on any given issue.

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  7. The mayor controls everything and everybody in this city. There are a few council members who bow down to him but they all will learn if they haven’t already the day he turns on them if they don’t do what he wants. He forgets he works for us its our money. Everybody in this city hall works for us but the way some of us are treated you would never know it. The mayor never answers the phone never returns calls but if confronted at the council meeting its”see me outside after meeting” I just spoke with someone today and he said the same thing he said the mayor pats your hand and says I will take care of you and then later down the road its sorry but could not be done. What does this man do for us?????? I am sick of seeing him on TV

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  8. Truth Page-

    The open meetings act does allow for an informal canvas of members to find out how they would vote on a particular issue, so long as a formal decision is not made and it is not a deliberate attempt to avoid the OMA. I suppose there was a time constraint involved, so a canvas had to be done quickly. The decision was made and voted on at the meeting, as normal. I am surprised this was not covered in your long dissertation on the topic. Also no one objected to the topic, even in a small way, which was surprising given the vitriol I saw on all of the other topics.

    I think the council has undergone a lot of grief recently complying with the OMA and frankly think this topic is out of bounds. Dearborn, whom many here idolize, does this canvas thing quite frequently at their meetings. Our council has the gumption to openly debate a number of issues, taking a good deal of insult in the process. Much of this insult is out of line and bordering on breach of the peace in some cases.

    Screaming at council members dismisses their ability to effectively govern and is counterproductive to constructive contribution. If people want to voice greivances and concerns, great, but this personal attacking going on is more reminiscent of a witch hunt than productive criticism.

    So before you and others call the council a bunch of names, insult their intelligence, judgement, wit and knowledge. Maybe you all should take a long look in the mirror and ask yourselves if that would be ok if you were on the other side of that table and were the target.

    I just do not get it.

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  9. Some people are looking into this to find out just what can happen to them for doing this… There has to be minutes of any meeting they had even if that was held via email. That’s why I’m asking the Council chair to produce every scrap of correspondence for this issue and to make it public. The vote taken last night was a complete lie and someone has to be held accountable for it. They already voted cut the check and sent it in. The properties were bought and paid for before they held the meeting and voted in public. Doing that sham of a vote doesn’t make this alright. When if ever has the Council or the Mayor ever been made accountable for anything that they do? NEVER!

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  10. Cant we go to city department and ask for proof of anything that was mentioned at the meeting that is our right we pay for all these things that they decide upon. I could not believe what the attorneys are charging us either .

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  11. This council is so arrogant they feel they can do anything they want. Last night they also approved without so much of a blink to take over 1.6 million dollars from the slush (oops, my bad) the water fund. When I questioned what the line items were for that accounted for the 1.6 million + dollars I was told by Baron that “they can’t be responsible for remembering all that”. They wanted me to address my question to the DPW director and got really upset when I said that since they voted for all this money I wanted to hear it from their mouths as I am sure Mr. Zimmer who had requested the money knew what he was asking for. Berry was waving the 15 second warning sign so I could not ask anymore questions.

    However, as arrogant their reply was we now have video evidence that they don’t know what they are voting for, don’t feel they have to answer legitimate questions regarding how money is spent in the city and violated my rights to freedom of speech; especially as they were legitimate questions regarding how they handle city money..

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  12. That’s not legal Since when can they do things without us knowing about it That is why we have council meetings. So pretty soon we wont have meetings at all for the public to attend

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