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ADMINISTRATION TERMINATION: City Council voted Tuesday evening to terminate City Administrator Tom Crawford and release an independent investigation report to the public. Mayor Taylor and his allies were in favor of termination in the controversial 8-3 vote.
Multiple city employees in the report allege Crawford made comments that were racially insensitive and alluded to gender and sexual orientation stereotypes.
Jennifer Salvatore, the independent investigator and an attorney, wrote in the report that she believes “the comments attributed to Mr. Crawford were in fact made.” Salvatore concluded that Crawford’s actions were “detrimental to the image or reputation of the City or the operations of the workplace,” and thus in violation of Section 5.28 of the City’s Standards of Conduct Policy.
Nevertheless, Salvatore did not believe that Crawford violated the city’s Non Discrimination Policy or other sections of the Standards of Conduct Policy. Crawford apologized for his comments in a July 13 memo to City Council.
CM Kathy Griswold, D-Ward 2, expressed frustration at how quickly the council made a decision after the public release of the report. Griswold voted with the majority while saying she may wish to call for reconsideration at a later date.
Several other councilmembers published public statements about the vote:
“It is painful to vote to conclude the employment of a public servant who has served the City of Ann Arbor since 2004,” CM Lisa Disch, D-Ward 1, wrote to her emailing list on July 22. “Council received a memo by (HR) director Tom Guajardo advising the council that to be consistent with past practice in cases like these, separation would be the proper course of action.” … The memo
“In the last month, I have pleaded for my colleagues to seek more background and context, anything that would help inform decision-making … A majority of Council intentionally ignored other available information and rejected specific recommendations to seek out more information,” CM Elizabeth Nelson, D-Ward 4, wrote on her website yesterday. “Everything about this decision is reckless and discretionary. It is also irresponsible.”
“City policies apply to every city employee, regardless of their length of service or status in the organization. We cannot, and should not, make exceptions for the very person who leads the organization,” CM Jen Eyer, D-Ward 4, wrote on Facebook on July 21. “It pains me to see some council members politicizing this situation. That sends the wrong message to those who were harmed, to all city staff, and to the community.”
LEASING LEAD-UP: During this week’s City Council public comment, tenants and landlords voiced opinions on the timeline of a new Early Leasing Ordinance that provides tenants the right to renew their lease until 150 days before their lease expires. Currently, landlords may begin advertising an apartment 70 days into a lease.
Renters expressed relief, and some called for even more time to renew, while some landlords expressed concern for the potential for leasing demand building up and causing logistical issues. City Council is expected to approve the ordinance on Aug. 2.
PROVISION REVISION: City Council approved a resolution to create a November ballot question to amend the City Charter to implement “best value purchasing.” Instead of prioritizing the lowest bidder, the proposal will allow contract decisions to be made on factors such as “capacity, experience, personnel and skill, among other qualifications.”
PETITION SUBMISSION: This Friday, organizers of the effort to recall CM Jeff Hayner, D-Ward 1, will need to submit 2,264 or more signatures from Ward 1 voters if they hope to trigger a November recall election … The petition language
RETIRING & HIRING: Ann Arbor is seeking a new city attorney, after City Attorney Stephen Postema announced he will be retiring in April 2022. The job listing states that the City of Ann Arbor is seeking someone who can work with the city’s progressive leadership. Applications are due Aug. 29 … The search criteria
MISTWEET: After a series of assaults in downtown Ann Arbor last week, the University of Michigan Department of Public Safety and Security tweeted Tuesday that AAPD had a person of interest in custody. AAPD told The Daily they are not comfortable announcing whether or not the person in custody is a suspect.
(ANN) ARBOR DAY : In celebration of Arbor Day, the City of Ann Arbor will be planting 40 trees in front of homes beginning in October. Residents interested in proposing a location can submit location details to firstname.lastname@example.org by Sept. 3.
OPEN FOR BUSINESS: Three new businesses will be coming to Ann Arbor. JARS Cannabis will be opening this week in the downtown building that was formerly home to a CIA office that was bombed in 1968. Rocket Fizz, a nostalgic soda and candy shop, will open its doors in downtown Ann Arbor next week, featuring a selection of over 1,500 varieties of candy. Lastly, Big Blue Swim School, a national chain, will be opening on Eisenhower Pkwy. in early 2022.
“Michigan’s groundwater problem: Ann Arbor’s 4-mile-long dioxane plume is growing” … Detroit Free Press
“House adopts expansive bill to regulate, cleanup PFAS contamination” … The Detroit News
“Michigan athletes carry strong Olympic reputation into 2020 games” … The Michigan Daily
“James Craig says he’s ‘running,’ launches committee for Michigan governor” … The Detroit News
We value your opinion! Each week we will pose a question and share reader responses in the following edition.
This week’s prompt: What are your thoughts on the proposed Early Leasing Ordinance and its potential impact on the Ann Arbor and University communities?
Last week’s prompt: How does the increased spread of the COVID-19 delta variant across the country affect precautions you will take on a day-to-day basis and your opinion of Ann Arbor’s return to normal?
“Knowing that about half of the citizens in our country are unvaccinated, I wear a mask whenever I go into a building. Even though I have been vaccinated, I avoid being in crowds of people, and will only eat at restaurants if I can sit outdoors … The COVID-19 delta variant is more contagious and is infecting people who have already been vaccinated, so this is a huge concern. As soon as boosters are available, I will try to get one. So-called “normal” is far away as long as we do not reach herd immunity.” – Luis, 63, Ann Arbor
“I am fully vaccinated, but I wear my mask indoors. I do not wear a mask outside and will limit my visits to any indoor venue with more than 100 people. I will wear a mask on all group transportation.” – Lawrence, 66, Westford, Mass.
“76% of UMich students have self-reported vaccination, clearing benchmark” … The Michigan Daily
Washtenaw County reported 9 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours and 112 cases in the past two weeks. More than 69% of Washtenaw County residents aged 16 and over have received at least one vaccine dose.