Dearborn Heights City Council Files Law 78 Mayor Nomination Awaiting Circuit Court Opinion

The Dearborn Height City Council filed Mayor Raed Mourad’s nomination to the Act 78 Police and Fire Commission at its April 12 meeting until the legal issues are resolved.

Council members Dave Abdallah, Hassan Ahmad, Mo Baydoun and Robert Constan voted to table the motion, with council member Nancy Bryer opposing it. Board members Tom Wencel and Ray Muscat were absent.

City Council members Robert Constan (left) and Nancy Bryer listen to the discussion of the Mayor’s proposed appointment of Police and Fire Act 78 at the April 12 City Council meeting. (Sue Suchyta – For MediaNews Group)

Earlier in the meeting, during the public comment period, Bill 78 Commissioner Steve Lobkovich and political activist Rachel LaPointe spoke about Mayor Bill Bazzi’s termination of Bill 78 commission chairman Martin Crandall on March 23, the day before former Dearborn Heights Police Chief Mark Meyers was due to appear in court. two remaining commissioners to appeal his dismissal and other recent commission actions.

Bazzi argues that Crandall, as commission-appointed mayor and chairman, can be replaced by him.

The mayor also said the chief of police is an appointed position, not promoted, which allowed him, under the city charter, to replace Meyers with Chief Jerrod Hart.

The city’s Act 78 Commission recently argued that Meyers was subject to the Act 78 Commission and was fired without cause.

City council members Hassan Ahmad (left), Mo Baydoun and President Dave Abdallah listen to the discussion on the mayor’s proposed appointment of Police and Fire Act 78 during the April 12 city council meeting. (Sue Suchyta – For MediaNews Group)

Baydoun said that while he was in favor of Mourad’s appointment, he wanted Crandall’s dismissal resolved before the board votes on his successor.

Constan said he thinks it’s important for the board to stick to the rules, especially when it comes to the independence of the Act 78 Police and Fire Commission.

“I think it’s important for the applicability of the commission’s findings,” he said. “The city filed a suit in circuit court, asking the circuit court to determine that Mr. Crandall’s dismissal was fair and just.”

Until a decision is made, under Law 78, Crandall’s dismissal is not final, Constan said.

He said the Bill 78 Commission can still operate with its two remaining members, who constitute a quorum, so that the hiring of police and firefighters is not delayed.

Bazzi said the city needs to have someone on the commission, appointed by him, to represent the city’s interests with respect to its charter.

Mayor Bill Bazzi (left) and City Attorney Gary Miotke listen to the discussion of the mayor’s proposed appointment of Police and Fire Act 78 at the April 12 city council meeting. (Sue Suchyta – For MediaNews Group)

“I don’t want to talk about legal matters, but I hope you will vote not to file this because we still have police officers that we need to continue the interview process and it may take some time,” he said. he declared. “Again, we follow the charter, and I followed protocol with a labor attorney.”

Baydoun said while he respects the mayor’s opinion, council members do not have a legal opinion before them to consult.

“(City Attorney) Gary (Miotke) won’t talk about it, the (labor) attorney never told us about it, it was never in camera, there’s a court ruling here – I can’t make a decision about it, and anyone should have to make a decision about it,” he said. “It just makes sense, and I’m sorry for the officers we’re questioning, but we still have a quorum, and I believe the two gentlemen over there are a former police officer and a former firefighter. I’m sorry, but I just don’t think the body should make a decision today on something that we don’t have in front of us.

The Dearborn Heights City Council listens to the discussion on the proposal to appoint the mayor to the Law 78 Police and Fire Commission during the April 12 meeting, which it then voted on until issues current disputes are resolved. The committee currently has a quorum and can conduct business. (Sue Suchyta – For MediaNews Group)

Bazzi said any of the board members could have called the attorney to ask questions.

“If you have a problem with anything, you do whatever you have to do to make a decision,” he said.

Baydoun said he was not here to discuss the matter.

“I asked to drop it because we don’t have enough information about it,” he said. “It’s not who’s right or who’s not, to be honest with you. Me, personally, if it was already approved by the courts, I would approve Raed Mourad – he is one of my best friends – but I cannot make a decision on something that is not in front of me.

Baydoun said he may not have done his due diligence, but he believes all board members are in the same position.

Abdallah noted that because Miotke recused himself from representing the city in this decision, he understands that members of the city council should contact the labor lawyer working on behalf of the city on this issue.

Baydoun said he understands that, but as a court ruling is still pending, he doesn’t think the nomination should be approved if there is a chance it will be overturned.

Abdallah said Mourad is a very reputable lawyer and has heard a lot of good things from him.

“I’m very comfortable with Raed Mourad present, but at the same time I want to make sure I follow protocol,” he said.

In response to a timing question from Ahmad, Miotke said the quickest a circuit court judge could respond to the city’s motion could be a matter of weeks, but he doesn’t know how this case will be dealt with with regard to the role of the judge.

“It’s very unusual, and I’ve never personally addressed those particular issues representing the city or any other city,” he said. “I was actually special counsel to the Act 78 Commission for the town of Westland, probably around 1990, 1991, and I never met him there either, so it’s a very unusual, and that doesn’t normally happen.”

Abdallah said he learned two things that day that were game-changing for him.

“I found out today there was an appeal, and I didn’t know it, and now I find out there’s a trial and we’re going to court as a city to make sure this happens. happen,” he said. “I didn’t know those two things, and now I’m getting more specifics about Gary Miotke, which he can’t tell us, based on a conflict of interest, so three things are up in the air, and that makes it very hard, honestly, to be able to make a decision, as much as I want to; For me, it’s hard.”

Constan said that when he worked for a short time with the city of Dearborn, the three attorneys in the company’s attorney’s office who were employees appealed a Public Service Commission decision appointing an attorney. individual who hadn’t had the experience for years, and they appealed to the circuit court, and he said he was heard within 60 days.

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