Can Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones also serve as representative of 13th district?

Posted at 6:13 PM, Aug 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-09 18:32:36-04

Candidate Brenda Jones is in an odd position after winning the special primary on Tuesday. 

She set to fill representative John Conyers' seat representing the 13th Congressional District for the rest of his term, however, Jones lost to Rashida Tlaib to represent the district for the next two years.

Jones hasn’t announced if she will fill the position. Jones is also the Detroit City Council President, which has lawyers for the city currently researching whether she can remain on the council and finish Conyers' term. 

“We are looking at a number of questions that are not the kind you get every day,” said Lawrence Garcia, Corporation Counsel for the City of Detroit. “The election results for the U.S. Congress 13th District race pose some interesting and unusual questions. The law department is reviewing these matters.”

According to House Ethics rules, she technically can still hold both positions but there are some stipulations. 

“While no statutory provision or House rule absolutely prohibits a House employee from holding a local office while remaining on the House payroll, the applicable provisions of state or local law on eligibility for office must be consulted. In addition, House employees must take care to avoid any undertaking that is inconsistent with congressional responsibilities,” according to the House Committee on Ethics rules. 

Jonathan Kinloch, chairman of the Democratic Party of the 13th Congressional District said Jones can hold both positions if not paid. 

“Because this is a federal position, as long as she does not receive compensation while she is on the city council she can still serve on our council and that it would not be a conflict,” Kinloch said. 

She said she could finish Conyers' term and remain council president until Tlaib took over Conyers' seat in January. 

“We are just happy this vacancy is filled,” Kinloch said.  “We have two dynamic individuals, one that will serve us for the short term and one that will be representing us for the next two years and I’m sure she will do a great and wonderful job.”