Hamtramck’s City Council has taken an inquiry into a $13,000 payment made to Acts 29 for work performed in 2009 to an absurd level. The council met in a special meeting last week, and also has a work session scheduled for next Monday and a special meeting next Thursday dedicated to this subject.
Good grief, you’d think a major scandal has erupted in City Hall.
What is all this about?
What it appears to come down to is that the city administration failed to first get council approval to enter into a contract with Acts 29 – a Christian organization – to board up vacant houses and maintain empty lots.
The city administration also appeared to fail to follow through on supervising work orders.
To us, this is a case of the city administration needing to tighten its controls. The matter does not require more than a stern warning to the administration to do its job correctly. It does not call for any more meetings or worse, a request to have the state police investigate.
Talk about the proverbial making a mountain out of a molehill.
What is likely at the root of this contract falling through the cracks so to speak, is that the Michigan Department of Housing and Development Authority first approached Acts 29 to set up a program in which homeless folks and the unemployed could be hired to do blight control in Hamtramck and Highland Park.
Hamtramck’s administration signed onto the deal because the state was willing to kick in some money to cover costs. It was a great deal: the city got cheap labor and helped unemployed locals get temporary work.
City Councilmember Cathie Gordon has been in the lead in seeking an investigation into the hiring of Acts 29. While we appreciate her zeal in looking out for taxpayers’ money, she is blowing this matter way out of proportion. Worse yet, she is jeopardizing any future dealings with state officials to set up special programs in the city.
If this is how we show our appreciation for the state stepping in and helping people get jobs, why would they bother with Hamtramck in future deals?
City officials would be wise to stand up and say “No” to any further investigation into this matter and instead focus on how we can repair any damage we may have caused with state officials.