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Detroit Fights To Keep Control Of Water Department

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DETROIT (WWJ) – The Detroit City Council will meet with attorneys in closed session Wednesday afternoon to discuss the latest challenge to the city’s authority over its water department.

Challenges to Detroit’s control of its water department go back decades but have gained momentum following federal indictments against former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his colleagues.

Now Oakland and Macomb Counties are asking a federal judge to strip Detroit of its authority to hire water department employees and contractors and approve water rates.

“Those issues should always come through the council table and allow public hearings on those matters,” said Pugh.

“Although the law department has responded to these court filings from Oakland and Macomb counties, we’re looking into whether the council should file a separate action,” said Pugh. “We don’t support an autonomous board of water commissioners.”

If Federal Judge Sean Cox agrees with Macomb and Oakland Counties, the Board of Water Commissioners will have the sole authority to set rates and hire and fire employees and contractors.

Meantime, the federal corruption trial for former Kilpatrick, his friend and contractor Bobby Ferguson and Victor Mercado, the former director of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, is scheduled to begin next year.

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