Opinion

The rest of the story

For those of you looking to better understand the context surrounding the statement I made to City Council on October 19, 2020, please see below.

City Council was scheduled to hear public comment regarding a proposed conflict of interest ordinance on October 12 (agenda). On the evening of October 11, I emailed my planned statement to the entire Council so that they would have time to review it before the public hearing. In short, the statement documents the recent sale of city-owned land for $90,000 below the appraised value (a 33% discount) to benefit an organization on whose board of directors our city manager currently serves as president.

Around 5p on October 12, the Council meeting was cancelled because virtual public meetings were no longer permitted due to the Michigan Supreme Court’s recent ruling. One week later, after not receiving any response from Council and seeing that there were no plans to reschedule the public hearing (agenda), I made my statement at the beginning of the meeting on October 19. The mayor’s only response was that conflicts of interest cease to exist when Council is made aware of them. In fact, as described in the proposed ordinance, disclosure is the first step, not the last step, of dealing with conflicts of interest.

Why did I make this statement at the same meeting at which our city manager formally announced her resignation? The public hearing and the city manager’s resignation announcement were both originally scheduled for October 12 (agenda). By the time the meeting was rescheduled for October 19, although the city manager’s resignation announcement remained on the agenda and the scheduling of other public hearings was added, there was no action item to reschedule the public hearing for the conflict of interest ordinance. Further, I had received no response from the City. As of today (October 30), 19 days after my original request, I still have not received a response.

Trust and confidence in all levels of government are understandably decreasing. Although finally putting a conflict of interest ordinance on the books six years after becoming a city is a step in the right direction, refusing to address even basic questions about how it might be implemented renders the intention hollow at best.

I am happy to answer any questions you have about this statement, in particular, my involvement in Dexter Citizens for Responsible Government, in general, or anything else that might help you come to your own informed decision about whether to support my bid for Council. Please feel free to email me at griffinfordexter@gmail.com.

Sincerely,

Jamie Griffin

Dexter, MI

This post expresses the views and opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily that of The Sun Times News management or staff.

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