David Ashenfelter, Joe Swickard and Naomi R. Patton, Detroit Free Press, May 14, 2008
About the same time Detroit City Council members were quizzing the chief judge of 36th District Court about her decision to not recuse her court from hearing the case against the mayor and his former chief of staff, a Detroit woman was filing recall petitions Wednesday against the five members who voted Tuesday to remove Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
The petitions were filed by Glenda Morgan against Council President Ken Cockrel Jr. and members Sheila Cockrel, Brenda Jones, Kwame Kenyatta and JoAnn Watson. All five voted Tuesday to remove Kilpatrick from office. The petitions cited abuse of power and negligence but offered no details.
The Wayne County Election Commission tentatively scheduled a hearing for 9 a.m. May 30 to determine whether the petitions cite a course of conduct with enough specificity to proceed. A state election law expert said Morgan’s petitions are so vague they probably won’t pass commission muster.
“Based on the wording, there’s virtually no chance that something that vague would be approved,” said Bingham Farms lawyer Gene Farber.
The Detroit City Council voted today to launch a two-track effort to remove Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick from office by both beginning its own process and asking Gov. Jennifer Granholm to oust him.
The vote was 5-4 as the council made a historic move to topple a mayor. But almost immediately after the vote was completed and as the council meeting was breaking up, the swing vote, Councilwoman JoAnn Watson, announced that she had just received a note from Kilpatrick and would be reconsidering her votes in favor of seeking the mayor’s removal.
After talking to the mayor this afternoon, she stuck with her vote in favor of his removal.
Both processes are expected to take months. The council set an initial public hearing for its removal hearings of June 13.
The law giving Granholm the power to remove elected local officials does not give a timetable for action.
The last time a governor conducted removal hearings on a local official was 1982 – for a West Bloomfield Township official accused of public drunkenness. Gov. William Milliken ordered the official to quit drinking or be removed.