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State Asks Detroit Council To Decertify Human Services Department

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(WWJ Photo/Florence Walton)

(WWJ Photo/Florence Walton)

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DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit’s scandal-plagued Department of Human Services was the hot topic on the table at Friday’s City Council meeting.

Michigan Department of Human Services Director Maura Corrigan has asked Detroit council members to voluntarily decertify the department, which has been accused of incompetence and corruption and is currently under a federal investigation.

“Take this action for the benefit of the people of the city of Detroit,” Corrigan said. “In the event that you do not act, we must and will move forward with adversarial proceedings to de-designate the Detroit Department of Human services.”

State officials want to transfer $15 million and the management of the program to a non-profit agency outside of the city.

Corrigan said the city has misused millions of dollars that were supposed to be used to help struggling families.

“The longstanding mismanagement and criminal activity identified to date makes this management transfer an undeniable necessity,” Corrigan said.

Councilwoman JoAnn Watson insists that such a transfer would be illegal.

“I suggested that there might be some federal regulations stipulating that the money that was intended for Detroit might be spent in Detroit with contractors in Detroit. Low and behold, there regulations on the federal books regarding same,” said Watson. “I would advise the attorneys and everyone connected … please read the federal regulations.”

“The money comes from the federal government. It’s supposed to pass through the state and be sent to people in great need. And the money should be spent in Detroit, administered in Detroit and managed in Detroit,” she said.

The department has had to return millions of dollars of unused weatherization and Head Start funding to the federal government while poor homeowners in the city remain on waiting lists.  Mayor Dave Bing fired the director of the program for spending money intended for the poor on office furniture.  (More on this here).

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