In a 4-2 vote at the Nov. 26 City Council meeting, Acting Mayor Dane Slater was appointed to the mayoral seat until November of 2013 – unless the state attorney general says differently.
Slater tendered his resignation as councilman to accept the appointment.
Mayor Pro Tem Wade Fleming and Councilman Doug Tietz opposed Slater’s appointment.
“I’m not ready to appoint any candidate until we get a resolution from the state,” Tietz said, referring to the Nov. 16 letter that state Director of Elections Christopher Thomas sent to Troy City Attorney Lori Grigg Bluhm. That letter stated that the mayoral seat should be filled by a special election Feb. 26.
By city charter, the council had 30 days following the mayoral recall to fill the mayoral seat.
“We still have another meeting before the 30 days.” Tietz added, advocating for holding off on the mayoral appointment until the Dec. 3 meeting.
“I concur,” Fleming said. “We’ve only had a few days since we got the letter. We voted to ignore it,” he said, referring to the 3-3 council vote at a special meeting Nov. 21, when Fleming made a resolution to seek and abide by the attorney general’s direction on the matter. The resolution failed with the tie vote.
“There’s wisdom in waiting,” Fleming said. He and Council member Maureen McGinnis, then serving as acting mayor, had also sought the mayoral appointment at the Nov. 12 council meeting. After hours of deadlock in a study session, the council, by consensus, appointed Slater as acting mayor until the council voted in session on the appointment.
Councilmen Dave Henderson and Jim Campbell, Slater and McGinnis voted to appoint Slater as mayor.
Henderson, who had voted with Fleming and Tietz Nov. 21 to seek and follow the guidance of the attorney general, agreed that there was wisdom in waiting, but added, “That ship has sailed. I’m understanding that we will probably be sued and this will be undone. But I’d like to have it (mayoral appointment) resolved as quickly as possible.”
“I’m willing to resign tonight,” Slater said of his council seat. “I have faith in the city attorney that she can defend this.”
Residents expressed concern that the mayoral recall campaign misled voters into believing it would not force a special election and belief that the city charter trumps state law in this matter.
Bluhm said the charter governs the procedure and the Oakland County Elections Division, the city’s consulting authority, clarified the procedure. She told the council at the Nov. 26 meeting that she did not initiate contact with the Secretary of State on the matter prior to receiving the letter.
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