Thursday, July 30, 2009

Detroit City Charter Profiles: A Woman of Integrity by Akindele Akinyemi


While people are concentrating on the Detroit City Council races next Tuesday we are not paying attention to the other race called the Charter Commission race. Whoever is elected to the charter commission will have the wonderful task of reorganizing the city charter to make it a 21st century document that will have easy guidelines to follow.

So the big names like Freman Hendrix and Teola Hunter are running for this position but one name that is quiet but could set the record straight is Tonya Myers-Phillips.

Here is a woman of pure accountability, integrity and trust. She originally stepped on the scene in 2005 when she ran for the Detroit School Board. What impressed me then and STILL impresses me now is her tremendous knowledge of the city charter. I guess that goes with the territory when you receive a law degree from the University of Michigan.

Ms. Phillips has experience working with municipal law and the Charter in particular. She worked with the Detroit City Council and its Special Counsel William Goodman to analyze and interpret the Council's removal and forfeiture powers under the Detroit City Charter. Ms. Phillips also worked with the Guild Law Center and the Detroit City Council to strengthen the investigatory and enforcement provisions of the Detroit Living Wage Ordinance which mandates workers be paid a "living wage" for the services on high-value city contracts.

On ethics reform, Myers-Phillips would like more disclosure of information and regulation of lobbying efforts.

She supports council by districts to bring forth accountability for council members. This is a very important move to support by Tonya because far too often, the Detroit City Council has obsessed over one thing or another downtown while the needs of the neighborhoods have gone unattended to. A district system will go a long way towards making sure a neighborhood's desire for police and fire protection don't get forgotten about in the City of Detroit's budget.

There is a young adult movement growing in the City of Detroit in terms of leadership. Tonya Phillips is one of those modern day leaders who will help develop a city charter that will bring Detroit into a global foundation of accountability and integrity that will bring a sense of respect for our constituents, business and civic leaders for future generations.


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