Ypsilanti Citizen News Sidetrack

City Council approves all mayor's re-appointments
By Dan DuChene
Jun. 16, 2010   ·   3:42 a.m.

Jone Coleman, president of downtown business LookInTheAttic, shares his thoughts with City Council about the discussion and procedure taken to pass mayoral re-appointments, which he was being considered for the Downtown Development Authority.

After much procedure, Ypsilanti City Council approved six mayoral re-appointments to city boards and committees Tuesday, including the two postponed from earlier...read more

Council postpones two reappointments
By Mark Tower
Jun. 4, 2010   ·   4:57 p.m.

Two of Ypsilanti's volunteer board members were not reappointed on schedule Tuesday night, owing to a 4-2 vote by City Council to delay the appointments until...read more

Downtown properties to be rehabilitated
By Mark Tower
Jun. 4, 2010   ·   10:40 a.m.

The three properties located at 120, 122 and 124 West Michigan Avenue in downtown Ypsilanti will soon be rebuilt into commercial and office space and loft apartments, thanks to a planned $1.7 million investment by developers.

Three recently-vacated properties in downtown Ypsilanti, two of them condemned, will soon be renovated owing to recent purchase by a local development company and...read more

Ypsilanti Township authorizes litigation against Liberty Square
By Mark Tower
May. 28, 2010   ·   6:53 p.m.

Many of the homes in the Liberty Square complex on Grove Street in Ypsilanti Township are already boarded and ready for foreclosure sale. All 151 units, some of which are still occupied, will be condemned Tuesday, Ypsilanti Township has resolved.

Residents living in the Liberty Square complex of townhouses will see a sticker appear on their homes Tuesday, when the Ypsilanti Township Building Department places...read more

Ford plant granted tax exemption by township
By Mark Tower
May. 24, 2010   ·   5:44 p.m.

Ford Motor Company's Rawsonville Plan, located at the intersection of Textile and Bridge Roads in Ypsilanti Township, will soon be the new home for production of Ford's Electric Focus batteries, formerly produced in Mexico.

New machines and equipment will soon be wheeled into Ford's Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti Township as it begins manufacturing a line of batteries for the new global...read more

Politics cause former mayor to lose appointment

Dr. Kimberly A. Rice DDS

Farmer’s bid for Ethics Board denied by City Council

By Dan DuChene
Jan. 5, 2009    ·    1:36 a.m.

When Cheryl Farmer’s seat on the Ypsilanti Ethics Board was rejected by City Council last month, City Council discussed the possibility of her “agenda.”

Councilmember Peter Murdock, D-Ward 3, said Farmer, a former Ypsilanti mayor, had addressed City Council over the summer and made accusations about a councilmember and his wife and said the “unsubstantiated charges” should go in front of the board.

“That is somebody with a mission, somebody with an agenda,” Murdock said at the meeting. “I cannot support that.”

After the meeting, where Farmer’s bid for the appointment was voted down with only Mayor Paul Schreiber, who made the appointment, and Councilmember Bill Nickels, D-Ward 2, voting in favor, Farmer confirmed the accusations referred to at the meeting were about Murdock.

Murdock motioned to split the question at the meeting, isolating Farmer’s appointment from other board appointments on the resolution.

Farmer said she had attended the July 15 meeting to inform City Council of rumors she was hearing about Murdock, who was running for his current seat at the time. She said she told council she had heard his wife had helped some voters fill out their absentee ballots and saw this as a conflict of interest.

She said she advised City Council that the matter should go in front of the city’s Ethics Board.

“They elected not to do anything about it,” Farmer said.

She then wrote a letter to Schreiber on July 24, expressing her interest in being appointed to the board, which is the mayor’s responsibility with approval from City Council.

Schreiber put Farmer up to replace Joe Lawrence at City Council’s last meeting of 2008.

After last month’s meeting, Murdock said he was not actually at the meeting he had referred to and had heard his information second-hand. He said he cold not go into detail on the specifics of the allegations made. Calls to Murdock for comment after the Citizen spoke with Farmer were not returned.

Farmer, a practicing medical doctor, said she helped put language in the city’s charter about ethical principals as mayor. She said she also helped create the board, which has never actually met.

She said this, combined with her dedication to the city and her previous experience on medical ethical reviews made her a good appointment.

“I just thought I could help,” Farmer said. “I thought I would be a good fit.”

Farmer said any action the board would have taken would have been proactive and not retroactive. She said anything she moved through on the board would have looked at future elections and would have not taken any punitive action about the past.

Murdock was the only member of City Council to name Farmer’s allegations as cause for voting her appointment down. Councilmember Michael Bodary, D-Ward 2, pointed to her involvement in local politics as a reason to vote her down.

Farmer hasn’t been mayor for two years, but has been involved with other local elections. She was an avid supporter of the city income tax in 2007. Bodary said not enough time has passed to “change a person’s opinions or agenda.”

Both Nickels and Farmer pointed out that people with a seat on the board are not necessarily supposed to be held by people without bias.

At the meeting, Nickels pointed to guidelines for the board, which stated the board should have an equal balance of members with different party affiliations. He said this was evidence that open political activity should not remove one’s right to serve on the board.

“I didn’t know that being involved in politics precluded anyone from doing anything in this country,” Farmer said.

After City Council voted down his appointment, Schreiber asked for other recommendations to fill the spot.

“I hope this doesn’t become a habit for this council,” he said. “The last council could appoint people of different opinions, I think that’s the kind of vision that we need for this council as well.”

Farmer said this incident did not diminish her desire to continue serving Ypsilanti. She said she might consider an appointment to the Downtown Development Authority, or the Planning Commission. She said she still wants to help the city by becoming more active.

The Rocket

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