Minehaha Forman is a freelance writer living in Detroit. Born on a farm in Belize, Central America, she moved to the U.S. to pursue higher education and a career in writing. Forman’s work has been featured in many metro Detroit publications including Dbusiness magazine, Hour magazine and Corp! magazine. She has provided event coverage for Real Times Media and The Michigan Chronicle for three years, covering the popular Pancakes and Politics speaker series and other events. Prior to working with the Chronicle, Forman was a blogger with The American Independent News Network where she covered Metro Detroit politics and the 2008 presidential election. She will continue to provide commentary and coverage of Detroit politics as a blogger and feature writer for The Michigan Chronicle’s website.
Website URL: http://truthordarestories.blogspot.com/
Whatever happens with suspended Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee, will play out in time.
But in the meantime, the Detroit Police Department (DPD) is in good hands. That’s the message from Detroit Councilman James Tate.
The former deputy police chief only had positive things to say about now interim Police Chief Chester Logan, who he has worked with in the past. "He's someone who is highly regarded by the men and women of the Police Department," Tate told the Detroit Free Press.
Logan is a lifelong Detroiter with more than 38 years of experience with the Detroit Police force who also served the U. S. Army in the Vietnam War.
Godbee Broke Trust, Not Rules
After sitting through hours of the Kwame Kilpatrick federal corruption trail, the difference between unethical and illegal is still ringing in my ears. While no one thinks what Godbee did was illegal, it is certainly believed to be unethical to have an interdepartmental affair.
Fair grounds for suspension, many have said. Obviously Mayor Dave Bing thinks so.
According to the DPD’s employee policy, there’s nothing that prohibits interdepartmental relationships, according to a Detroit police spokesperson.
But Bruce Miller, an employment lawyer and president of Miller Cohen told The Free Press that there’s a reason for a lack of specific rules: "An organization can't have a rule that defines everything it does," Miller said. "The rule book would be awfully thick."
Detroit Councilman Kwame Kenyatta said Godbee should resign and to clear the city of any scandal or perceived ethical breach: Just because a decision is not illegal or against the rules doesn’t mean it’s not wrong.
The bottom line is that the DPD is in good hands with Logan and one Police Chief’s digressions are small compared to the big picture of keeping the city safe. Knowing this we can all calm down on the Godbee topic.
Since he was elected mayor in 2009, Dave Bing has fired two police chiefs and suspended one. Bing removed former police chief James Barron and appointed then Wayne County Sherriff Warren Evans. He did so as a standard round of appointments for his administration.
But since then both of Bing’s picks for police chief have been involved romantically with subordinates. Bing suspended current Police Chief Ralph Godbee Tuesday evening after an affair that Godbee was having with a subordinate was exposed.
It seems as though Detroit Mayor Bing’s tolerance for internal romance between police chiefs and subordinates is very low. My question is this: Does this have to do with the shadow of the Kwame Kipatrick sex scandal that still looms over city leaders? Has the fear that the city can’t afford another ongoing sex scandal made the mayor hyper sensitive to relationships between leaders and subordinates?
Chief Godbee, who is separated from his wife and going through a divorce, was having a relationship with a married police officer. Not a huge scandal at face value, but maybe Bing knows something bigger is going on here. If not, the suspension seems a bit drastic, especially as the Detroit Police Department faces such trying times. With 10 percent wage cuts, 12-hour shifts, low police morale, and a homicide rate that grows daily makes an interoffice affair seem miniscule.
That’s not to say Godbee’s actions were right. Godbee should have learned a lesson from the events that surrounded his appointment to chief in the first place. And it’s never a good idea to sleep with an employee.
Godbee was appointed to be the city’s top law enforcer after Bing fired his predecessor, Warren Evans, in part for being romantically involved with a subordinate. At the time Bing said Evans’ romantic relationship with Lt. Monique Patterson would get in the way of Evans’ ability to conduct business.
Directly after Bing hired Godbee to replace Evans, Patterson released text messages showing she also had a romantic relationship with Godbee. Bing didn’t act on the texts Patterson released, and Godbee remained at his post.
Godbee's suspension sparked Evan's interest. Evans, who was fired in 2009, still seems bitter about the oust: He posted on Facebook:
Maybe someone can help me with the Mayor's mathematical equation and thought process:
Single man openly dates single woman = forced resignation
Married man has affair with single woman=promotion to Chief
Married man has another affair with married woman=30 day suspension.
Married man has no clue about fighting crime or fiscal management
The suspension of a police chief does not move the city any closer to curbing the rising homicide rate: The 287 murders committed through Sept. 23 in Detroit are 26 more than at the same point last year.
But the immediate and severe action does move the city closer to an image of no-nonsense leadership that snips interoffice sex scandals in the bud. And maybe that’s what Detroit needs most.
Just in case voters decided to vote down Proposal 1—that’s Public act 4, also known as the emergency manager law—there is new, similar legislation being crafted.
Michigan’s Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-SD17) told the Associated Press that he and some of his republican counterparts have crafted a replacement for the controversial state law that mandates an emergency manager take control of broke municipalities and schools.
Richardville said the newly drafted legislation is tweaked to address some issues critics have expressed with the original law and will serve as backup on the heels of the Nov. 6 vote.
The move comes after numerous polls have shown that statewide voters are sharply divided on the law, with no solid data the vote will be upheld or struck down.
Richardville told the Associated Press:
"If something happened like that bill was overturned, I think the Legislature would have to be ready to respond and to still deal with the emergency. You can eliminate the financial manager from the emergency financial manager legislation, but you can't remove the emergency."
Richardville’s alternative to PA4 so far has been low key, as neither Gov. Rick Snyder, nor Republican House leaders have mentioned anything about it.
The Michigan Supreme Court ruled to suspend the EM law and put it on the ballot in November as Proposal 1.
The law was passed last year by the Michigan Legislature and signed by Snyder
A draft of the alternative emergency manager bill is currently under legal review.
Meanwhile, the debate over Porposal 1, the ballot measure that asked voters to uphold or smash the original EM law, is heating up.
In a live chat on Mlive.com, two state lawmakers, Senator Bert Johnson and State Rep. Al Pscholka, submitted strong opinions on the topic:
State Rep. Al Pscholka (R-Stevensville) sponsored the legislation that is now PA4 and he continues to be a strong supporter of the measure.
"I know folks like to call it the Emergency Manager law, the name of the legislation is the Fiscal Accountability Act.
There is an easy way to avoid this legislation - pay your bills, don't take on huge debt, live within your means. That's 99 percent of the governments in the state. For others, we need an early warning system and the tools to help temporarily.
Our urban policy has to be more sophisticated than "send more money from Lansing.' It will take a partnership of government, non profits, business, and some real collaboration, not donut and coffee meetings where we all nod our heads about working together.”
“Allen Park also asked for financial review. That is part of the process, which includes a local review team, a state review board, review from the Governor and Treasurer.
EM's are just simply sent into places like critics claim. We need this law to stay so we can help communities before they get to the point of no return financially. Consent agreements and deficit reduction plans are much better. We can get there with a Yes vote on Prop. 1.”
State Senator Bert Johnson (D-Detroit) is a vocal critic of PA4. He has been very public about his strong opinions against the legistlation.
“No effort was made to do this in a bipartisan fashion and what we have, quite frankly, is gross government overreach into our local communities. Voters should choose to repeal PA4. The reason is two-fold.
On the surface, it goes against every Constitutional and democratic principle we claim as Americans: Local control, election of our representatives and no taxation without representation.
In practice, it has been a failure. It has led to corruption on the part of Emergency Managers. It has allowed for massive privatization, outsourcing of jobs and has in fact put children at risk.
Additionally, the results are all we need to prove this point. Cities and school districts under an Emergency Manager have not improved. A No vote on Proposal 1 will return some semblance of our democratic rights and will allow us to, hopefully, return to the drawing board to create a better law - one which does not infringe on our Constitutional rights.
Both sides seem to make good points. What do you think?
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