What is our City Council up to these days? We have the highlights of the latest council meeting.
By Charles Sercombe
The City Council met on Sept. 27, with Councilmembers Kazi Miah and Shahab Ahmed absent. The meeting ran for over two-and-a-half hours, which also included a closed meeting.
Sit back and crack open a beer. It might also be a good idea to push in that Deep Purple 8-track. Start out with “Smoke on the Water” — just for old time’s sake.
Councilmember Catrina Stackpoole introduced two interns from Wayne State University who will be setting up an education program on recycling for the public school district and who will also talk to the community about the power of the bicycle pedal and starting up a car share program.
Yes, you read that right. Hip cities across the USA have a program where folks can share cars for short trips around the city. Google it.
Attorney Alexis Krot was introduced as a new attorney for working the Allen Brothers law firm, which is the firm that represents the city. Krot will act as a prosecutor for Hamtramck in the 31st District Court.
Asked by Councilmember Cathie Gordon if she will pursue city-issued code enforcement tickets, Krot said: “I hope so, I live here.”
From the public, City Council candidate Robert Zwolak stepped up first and started out with questions about the absentee record of certain councilmembers.
The topic came about because Councilmember Kazi Miah was asking the council to excuse him for tonight’s meeting as well as the next two meetings because of personal reasons.
That request was later denied.
Zwolak, a former councilmember, said there’s been a “serious pattern” of some current councilmembers being absent from meetings.
OK, we will take out our decoder ring and share. Zwolak was referring to Councilmember Shahab Ahmed, who has several unexcused absences.
Zwolak posed the question: “If you live here and don’t come to the meetings, why run for office?”
(Editor’s note: “If you live here”? Is Zwolak implying that there is a councilmember who doesn’t live here? Dang, our decoder ring isn’t working.)
Zwolak also said that the city needs to change its contract with the police officers’ unions about how a police chief is appointed. He said the city’s administration needs to have the right to select a chief from outside of the department, if so desired.
The city’s contract with the officers’ unions (there are two unions in the department) requires someone from the department to be appointed as police chief.
Steve Shaya was the next to walk up to the lecturn. Shaya, who is also a candidate for council, advised the council to make a decision about whether to appoint Lt. Ron Mathias as police chief. City Manager Bill Cooper had placed the appointment of Mathias as police chief on the agenda.
This was the second time the appointment was presented to the council. In the previous meeting, the council did not even make a motion to accept the appointment.
This week wasn’t much different. Councilmember Tom Jankowski made a motion to accept the appointment, but no one else on council offered a support to allow the motion to go toward a vote.
(Editor’s note: Here comes a labor grievance.)
A final go-ahead was given to a private company to demolish an ex-factory on Denton St. (it’s that building with an all glass facade), and rebuild a new facility.
That facility will be an industrial recycling center, which will not be recycling home items.
November’s General Election Day is coming up. It’s on Nov. 8. Remember, in a small town like Hamtramck, every vote counts.
OK, we’re off the soapbox, but the reason we bring this up is because a council meeting also happens to fall on Nov. 8. The council decided to cancel that meeting and reschedule it for two days later on Nov. 10.
What a difference two weeks make. Instead of a divided council at the previous meeting, which split in a 2-2 tie on whether to apply for a state grant, tonight the vote was unanimous.
The council agreed to apply and accept the terms for a possible $1 million grant to figure out how to fix our sewer backup problem.
If the city accepts the grant, it has to make repairs within two years. If the city fails to do that, the grant has to be paid back, and if the city is unable to repay the state, a special property tax will be levied against homeowners.
(Well, the 8-track machine just chewed up our tape, so that’s it for this week. Part two is next week)