Wayne County Commission blocks vote on Robert Ficano's future

(WXYZ) DETROIT - A push to have Wayne County Commissioners vote on dumping County Executive Robert Ficano was shot-down today.

The commission voted 9 members to 6 not to consider Laura Cox's (R-Livonia) resolution to ask Ficano to resign.

The resolution would have asked Ficano to step down.

But the WC commissioners never even got the chance to vote on the actual resolution.

Wayne County Commission Chair Pro-Tem Laura Cox (R-Livonia) has been fighting to introduce a resolution asking County Executive Robert Ficano to step down.

Ever since the 7 Action News investigators exposed a secret severance deal and the FBI corruption probe, Ficano's administration has been plagued with indictments, criminal charges, firings and resignations.

But Cox says Commission Chair Gary Woronchak (D-Dearborn) has not allowed her to put the resolution on the agenda.

"The rules of procedure clearly state that the chair set aside the agenda," said Woronchak.

So Cox tried twice during today's meeting to bring the resolution up for discussion.

"This has been talked about for months.  I had meetings to get it put on the agenda and I was turned down.  I was put to higher standards than any other agenda item has ever been put to before.  So, I just decided this was my only option.  So this is why we are here today, and this is why I am doing this," said Cox.

A few other commissioner criticized Woronchak for not allowing the resolution to be on the agenda.

"At this point, it might not be about the county executive.  It might be about your leadership.  Your job is to put items on the agenda.  Your job is not to review items and go from office to office, and say, are you for this or against this," said Commissioner Jewel Ware (D-Detroit).

"I think all commissioners were elected by their people and should have a chance to put their ideas, feelings, what their people want on the agenda.  So I'm listening to my people, and my people want it on the agenda," said Commissioner Diane Webb (D-Garden City).

Back in February, when Cox made a public statement at a meeting asking Ficano to resign – Commissioner Bernard Parker (D-Detroit) fully backed her.

"If she made a resolution, I would second it.  I would support that. I think that it's getting to the point now where we're not able to govern or really provide the services to the people of Wayne County," said Parker on February 16, 2012.

Suddenly, the once-out-spoken Ficano critic has changed his tune.

"I am opposed to us bringing something forward that has not been viewed by us or discussed by us in the committee meeting.  So I will be voting no," said Parker today.

But Cox says every commissioner received a copy of the resolution well in advance of the meeting.

Ultimately, the motion to place the resolution on the agenda failed, with a vote of 9 to 6.

Ficano would not have had to comply with the resolution if it had made it onto the agenda and if it had passed.  But Cox says the symbolic vote would have sent a very clear message.

"It's a vote of no confidence, saying listen we've had enough.  Enough of the corruption, enough of the distraction, move on out Bob Ficano, and let's let someone else run the county and hopefully it will be the great Wayne County it has the ability to be," said Cox.

When 7 Action News Investigator Heather Catallo asked the Commission chair on Wednesday if he blocking this agenda item, he said no, but Cox says he absolutely was.

Hours after Thursday's fireworks, Woronchak suddenly sent out a press release, scheduling a meeting to discuss the resignation resolution, and the agenda item is now being sent to a committee.

Commissioners who voted to hear the motion were Cox, Tim Killeen, Jewel Ware, Ilona Varga, Kevin McNamara and Diane Webb.

Voting against were Commissioners Woronchak, Bernard Parker, Martha Scott, Irma Clark-Coleman, Burton Leland, Alisha Bell, Joan Gebhardt, Joseph Palamara and Ray Basham.

Over the last eightm onths, more than a half dozen l appointees and managers in the Ficano administration have either been criminally charged or have been named in ongoing investigation examining pay to play and other potential wrongdoing inside Wayne County.

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