Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Troy’s 9th mayor, Janice Daniels, was elected in November, 2011, in an election in which 26% of Troy voters cast a ballot. If the low turnout indicated that the residents of Troy thought the position of mayor had a limited impact, many would soon have second thoughts.
The Mayor Elect referred to the language of the city charter as “whimsical” and eliminated the traditional pledge to uphold the charter from her oath of office. Less than six months later, however, following a series of contentious public remarks, behaviors, and policy choices by the Mayor, a group of residents demonstrated that the charter was, actually, a living and powerful document, by implementing §7.17, which allows for the recall and replacement of elected officials.
In June, 2012, the recall committee turned in more than 9,000 signatures for certification by the Oakland County Clerk, and, when it was determined that enough qualifying signatures had been presented, the question was put on the general election ballot for November 6, 2012. The recall was successful, garnering the support of 52% of those voting. Troy Mayor Pro Tem, Maureen McGinnis, became Acting Mayor on November 9, 2012, serving just until November 12, 2012, when the Council voted Councilman Dane Slater Troy’s Interim Mayor. A month later, the Council appointed Ed Pennington to complete Slater’s City Council term.
The Troy City Charter provides that, when an elected vacancy is filled by majority vote of the Council, the person elected may serve out the official’s term, until a successor takes office. Based on this provision, the Council thought that Mayor Slater would serve until November, 2015. Michigan’s Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson, disagreed, however, pointing out that state law required a special election. The City filed a lawsuit against the Secretary of State’s intervention, claiming that the Troy City Charter controlled the proceedings. The court decided in favor of the state, and a special election was held in May, 2013. Mayor Slater was elected to serve out the unexpired term, with the next contest for the seat scheduled for November, 2015.
The state law has, since, been changed, so that the recall and the election of a successor are contested on the same ballot. This statewide development was impacted, in part, by Troy’s vital City Charter.
The City of Troy Charter can be downloaded at http://troymi.gov/Portals/0/Files/CodeAndCharter/Charter/Charter.pdf
To commemorate the City of Troy’s 60th Anniversary in 2015, we will publish a different story each day that highlights a person, discovery, or event that occurred locally, regionally, nationally, or even globally between 1955 and 2015 and that helped shape our lives and our community. We will try to post stories on important anniversary dates, but we also realize that dates are less critical than content and context. We will include the facts related to controversial stories, allowing our readers to form their own opinions. We invite you to read and comment on the stories. Your suggestions for topics are also welcome and can be posted on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/TroyHistoricVillage. You can also email stories or ideas to the 365 Story Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org