TAYLOR (WWJ) – The mayor of Taylor will not be going to jail for contempt of court after changing his mind about accepting an $8.1 million grant that will allow the city to hire back 32 laid off firefighters.
His change of heart came just a few hours before he was scheduled to report to court, presumably to get a jail sentence. Mayor Jeffrey Lamarand rejected a judge’s order to accept the federal grant earmarked at paying for public safety — saying the cash-strapped city couldn’t afford hidden costs associated with the grant.
Earlier on Thursday, Lamarand said he was prepared to go to jail to make a stand against the City Council, who demanded he accept the grant. But later that night, the mayor said he changed his mind because the firefighters union agreed to cash in cash in their bank of unused vacation and sick time during the grant, something Lamarand believes will save taxpayers $1.2 million.
In a statement, the mayor said some financial concerns remain, “but the overall benefit is now recognizable and any long-term impact has been all but eliminated.”
Lamarand will still be required to appear in court Friday to face contempt charges for not accepting the grant following a standoff with the council.
“I hold the Wayne County District Court, Judge Edwards and Judge MacDonald in high regard. However, as the Mayor of the City of Taylor, it is my sworn duty to serve the needs of 63,000 residents and will do what is right for the community. Whatever decision Judge MacDonald hands down I will respect and comply with knowing that I have served my City well, ” Lamarand said in a statement.
The mayor closed by criticising the City Council, saying their actions “have been absolutely unnecessary and continue to place our city at great financial risk. This is the same style of doing business they have used over the last 20 years that has taken our city to the brink of financial ruin and required us to submit a five-year deficit elimination plan with the State of Michigan.”
“The lack of thought process taken by five members of city council illustrates their absolute incompetence when it comes to the management and use of the people’s tax dollars,” Lamarand said. “It is this type of irresponsible spending that I will never support.”