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Dearborn Heights mayor must honor City Council's plan to conduct audit, court rules

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Posted at 6:35 AM, Sep 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-04 06:35:51-04

DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. (WXYZ) — The Wayne County Circuit Court ruled Tuesday that Dearborn Heights Mayor Dan Paletko must honor the City Council's resolution to proceed with steps to conduct a forensic audit of the city's finances.

The City Council proposed and approved the financial review "to help address questions regarding a number of city expenditures, including spending on retiree health care, spending on city-owned vehicles and charges from the city’s water fund, among other things."

Paletko initially refused to honor the resolution after the Council passed it approving the hiring of the Law Firm Ottenwess Taweel & Schenk, PLC – by a 4-2 vote – to facilitate the handling of the audit.

In response, the Dearborn Heights mayor wrote a letter to the Council, saying he would not sign the agreement with the law firm. "This resulted in a number of counter proposals, Mayoral vetoes, Council over-rides and Court proceedings. The most recent request to the Court was the Council’s August 9 Complaint for a Writ of Mandamus (a request for the Court to order the Mayor to sign a Revised Retainer Agreement)."

The Wayne County Circuit Court judge's Tuesday ruling found:

"...the City Council has met the burden of establishing all of the requirements needed to order a writ of mandamus. The City Council has shown that it had a clear legal right to performance by the Mayor to sign the Revised Retainer Agreement, and it has shown that the Mayor had a clear legal duty to perform the act requested to sign the Revised Retainer Agreement."

Council President Denise Malinowski-Maxwell was pleased with the Judge's decision.

“We appreciate the Judge’s decision on this issue. I am confident this will finally pave the way for us to conduct the full (forensic) audit of the city’s finances, which will answer the questions we have regarding both past and present spending procedures. Our intent as Council Members is to serve in the best interests of our residents – and this judgement will allow us to do just that.”

View the resolution below:

Dearborn City Resolution by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit on Scribd