Detroit City Council promotes Saunteel Jenkins, Andre Spivey to new leadership roles

Detroit City Council normally has 9 members but is down to 6

DETROIT - The Detroit City Council on Tuesday voted to put Saunteel Jenkins and Andre Spivey in leadership roles as president and president pro-tem.

The council voted two times: first on who would fill the president pro-tem position and automatically be promoted to president, and then who would remain president pro-tem.

Jenkins and Spivey garnered four votes each.

JoAnn Watson had argued that the positions be filled not by a vote at the table, but by succession based on votes received in the previous election. That would have given Brenda Jones the pro-tem position.

"The [City] charter says 2014. So, you would be out of compliance with the new charter and the old charter to be voting on anything. Succession is the order of the day until January 2014," Watson said.

During the discussion, Councilman Ken Cockrel said he wasn't sure if he would be sticking around for the remainder of his term until the end of the year. He said he's already started looking for other employment opportunities.

The board typically has nine but now is down to six members after two recent resignations and the apparent loss of former council President Charles Pugh. He's missed at least 2 weeks of work at City Hall and has since been stripped of his pay by Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.

READ: Police suspend investigation into Pugh

READ: Detroit EM Orr orders City Council not to fill vacancies

President pro tem Gary Brown stepped down last week to take a job on Orr's staff.

Councilman Kwame Kenyatta resigned last month, citing fewer responsibilities for the board since the state hired Orr to run Detroit's finances.

City Clerk Janice Winfrey says the council can operate as long as it has at least five members.

The state hired Orr in March to take over control of Detroit's finances. The city is running a $380 million deficit this year, and Orr says long-term debt could top $17 billion.

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