Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Commissioners Can Only Be Removed for Cause, City of Detroit Concedes

When Mayor Bing agreed on February 11, 2011 to give Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties greater participation in the oversight of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, it remained an open question whether members of the Board of Water Commissioners would serve at the pleasure of the Mayor or whether they could only be removed for cause. 

In a recent federal court filing, the City of Detroit agreed that Commissioners can only be moved for cause. Judge Sean Cox accepted this as a stipulation and entered an Order on April 29, 2011 to the effect that Detroit Board of Water Commissioners can only be removed for cause.

Comment: A "for cause" standard is a much higher standard than merely "serving at the pleasure of the Mayor." It means that a Commissioner cannot be removed absent a showing that they are unfit or unable to perform their duties as a Commissioner. Suburban stakeholders in the Department pressed for this higher standard and now it appears they have prevailed. In my view, this is designed to protect the integrity of the Board of Water Commissioners, which should exercise more oversight and ask more questions about how DWSD functions.
2011-04-29.ORDER.Members of Detroit Board of Water Commissioners Shall Only Be Removed for Cause

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