WARREN, Mich. – Will Warren residents be voting between new candidates for mayor in 2023? Or will current mayor Jim Fouts be in the running?
Warren Mayor Jim Fouts has filed to run for a fifth term and his candidacy is raising questions. Voters approved term limits for city officials in 2020 with a 68% majority. The law makes it so city officials can only serve for three four-year terms.
The vote to approve term limits came down near the beginning of Fouts’ fourth term. City councilmembers said Fouts can’t run again, but Fouts argues that he has been grandfathered in.
Fouts was unavailable for an interview. He did send a press release, that reads, in part, “in the coming months I will do what I always do to serve the people of Warren, taking their phone calls at night and on weekends, and getting the job done; my boss is the public. My life and my wife is Warren and that is what I do every day, every week of the year.”
Warren City Attorney Ethan Vinson sided with Fouts. In October, Vinson wrote that he new law wouldn’t be retroactive.
The Michigan Supreme Court has explained that unless there is a clear indication to the contrary, legislation is generally applied prospectively only,” Vinson wrote.
Councilmember Mindy Moore disagreed. Moore said that if this is not resolved, the case will likely go to court.
“The intent was to make the term of office of the mayor equal to the term of office for all elected officials in the city of Warren, which would make it three terms or 12 years. And the ballot language was very clear that that included and the wording was all years prior, all terms prior were included in the count,” Moore said.
According to Fouts, the city council has already sued him eight times over other instances.