Shores mayor, mayor pro tem spar over appointment removal

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published September 26, 2012

GROSSE POINTE SHORES — A quick decision at the end of a meeting last month has exposed an apparently growing rift between onetime political allies.


Mayor Ted Kedzierski’s decision to relieve City Council member/Mayor Pro Tem Daniel Schulte of his duties as public relations liaison for the city — duties that include writing for the city newsletter — didn’t sit well with Schulte, especially given that the council member wasn’t present when the decision was made.


Schulte, who was re-elected to a second term on the council last November, is the Republican candidate for the newly created State House District 1 seat, running against fellow newcomer Brian Banks, a Harper Woods Democrat. Voters will decide that contest this November.


During a Sept. 18 City Council meeting, Kedzierski defended his decision by saying that while Schulte has the right to run for another office, the mayor feared Schulte’s title as public relations liaison might be perceived as improper.


“I’m concerned that it doesn’t look right,” Kedzierski said.


At the end of last month’s council meeting Aug. 21 — which Schulte left early — Kedzierski raised the issue of Schulte’s position as the public relations liaison. Kedzierski said as a candidate in a contested election, there was a possible conflict of interest for Schulte, so he felt it would be better if they asked Schulte to step down. He asked for council concurrence on the matter, and the council voted unanimously to name City Council member Alexander Ajlouni as the new public relations liaison for the city.


Schulte, who said his position as public relations liaison has included writing unsigned newsletter pieces and an ad for city manager, said there was no reason to remove him from the post and didn’t feel a conflict existed.


“I have never used this council as a (platform) for another office,” Schulte said.


Although he said he didn’t mind having Ajlouni assume the position, Schulte told the mayor he would have appreciated being told about the decision in advance. He said he only learned of it the next day when a resident approached him at the grocery store and said he was “thrown under the bus” by the council.


When asked by Schulte if he had planned this in advance, Kedzierski said he hadn’t. The mayor then asked the council member about the presence at the August 21 meeting of several local television news crews and publications that don’t typically attend Shores City Council proceedings. Schulte denied having contacted these media outlets or knowing they were coming, but Kedzierski shot back that a reporter from the Macomb Daily was looking specifically for Schulte. Schulte was the council liaison for the city’s Move to Macomb Committee, the issue that drew the widespread media attention.


Kedzierski also questioned what he alleged were grievances filed by Schulte against Kedzierski’s licenses as a lawyer and a CPA — which the mayor said were the first such grievances filed against him in his career. Schulte, a media professional, responded by saying that the mayor “drew first blood” by stripping him of the public relations liaison position, which he said was akin to an attack on his professional credentials.


Schulte also questioned the timing of the decision, asking why it was done when he wasn’t present and why it couldn’t have waited until the next meeting. Kedzierski said it was a “unique situation” because the election was only two months away, but Schulte pointed out that he filed for the office in May and the mayor could have raised this issue in June or July. Kedzierski noted that Schulte is on television as part of the council proceedings, but Schulte said that at least three other candidates for the state representative office had spoken at prior council meetings; those candidates spoke during public comment in the months leading up to the August primary. Schulte also briefly mentioned his own candidacy at one point.


“Dan, I did what was best for the city,” Kedzierski responded.


Under a previous council, Kedzierski and Schulte often voted together and echoed similar concerns, but since the new council was elected last November, the two officials have clashed on more than one occasion.