DETROIT (WXYZ) - Despite months of complaints that they don't have the power to remove the Wayne County CEO from office, the Wayne County Commission failed to approve a proposed charter amendment that would have given them that authority.
Commissioner Laura Cox (R-Livonia) tried to get her charter amendment approved, so that voters could decide to give the commission the ability to remove a county executive for cause. The Commissioners failed to approve the amendment with a vote of 8-7.
The vote was puzzling to some commission observers. Commissioners like Gary Woronchak and Joseph Palamara had argued against voting to remove Ficano for weeks, saying that the commission just didn't have the power to do it. At today's vote, Woronchak, Palamara and others voted to keep it that way.
COMMISSIONERS VOTING YES:
Laura Cox, Diane Webb, Ilona Varga, Bernard Parker, Jewell Ware, Tim Killeen.
COMMISSIONERS VOTING NO:
Gary Woronchak, Ray Basham, Irma Clark-Coleman, Alisha Bell, Burton Leland, Joan Gebhardt, Joseph Palamara.
Commissioner Cox did get preliminary approval on a charter amendment that will allow the Governor to remove the CEO for cause. That passed 14-1, but it still has to go through another vote with the full board on August 16, 2012. If formally approved, it will be placed on the ballot for the voters to approve changing the county charter.
In a written statement, Cox said, "This measure represents a compromise that falls short of placing the removal responsibility with the Commission as I originally intended. But it is a step in the right direction in establishing the necessary checks and balances process between the executive and legislative branches.
While I continue to believe the Legislative Branch should have the exclusive ability to remove the Wayne County Executive for cause, as Congress does for the President and other federal officials, this proposed language will at least provide more accountability than we currently have."
This is the question that will likely be placed on the ballot:
"Shall the Wayne County Home Rule Charter be amended to add Section 4.124 to authorize the Governor to remove the Wayne County Executive from office?"