(Lansing) – After lead city attorney Krystal Crittendon brought the city of Detroit to the edge of bankruptcy with her reckless lawsuit, Ingham County Judge William Collette just as quickly put an end to it.
At a hearing in which Krystal Crittendon didn’t even have the decency to show up for, Judge Collette ruled quickly saying Crittendon had no authority to bring a lawsuit without the consent of the mayor. He added, “This is such an obvious issue. I saw it from the very first moment.”
Mayor Bing had retained the services of the law firm of Miller Canfield to handle the case. According to the 2012 Charter, Crittendon did not have the authority to pursue legal action on behalf of the city without approval by the mayor. Since the mayor had publicly and privately told Crittendon he did not wish for the case to continue, the case was not valid.
The consent agreement lawsuit will end up costing the city more money that it can’t afford to pay on legal fees. It’s also resulted in a downgrade of their bond rating by Fitch which means it will cost the city more to borrow money with bond issues. However, the real cause of all these problems is city councilwoman JoAnn Watson, who actually asked Crittendon to file the suit. Krystal Crittendon may have overstepped her bounds by filing the lawsuit, but she didn’t exactly go rogue – JoAnn Watson was the one pulling the strings.
Now that this distraction is over, Mayor Bing said he hoped to have the first Financial Advisory Board meeting at Cobo on Friday. The City Council still needs to appoint two members to the Board, but if they fail to do so, the Board will move forward with the seven members already appointed by Governor Snyder, the State Treasurer and Mayor Bing.
So now the city of Detroit will move forward with the consent agreement, but there is still an obstructionist element in the city council that needs to be addressed. With the considerable drop in population in the city, there is no need to still have nine council members. After losing half the population, the city would be well served by losing half their city council members as well. A five member council would be ideal, but with the recent update to the city charter this year, it is very unlikely to happen.