DETROIT (WWJ) – The deadline has come and gone.
Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh was a no-show Wednesday at City Hall, after Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr had given him until 5 p.m. to either show up for his job, or give it up.
This means Orr will start the process of cutting Pugh’s salary and ability to conduct city business. That’s according to Bill Nowling, a spokesman for the Emergency Manager’s office.
“If you’re going to collect a check from the city, you’re going to show up,” Nowling said. “We have an obligation to our rank and file employees —we’re all taking pay-cuts; we’re all taking furlough days — to make sure that we hold the highest elected and positioned people within city government to the same standard that we hold them to.”
This all comes — after skipping several council sessions — Pugh on Tuesday requested a four-week medical leave, which Orr rejected.
As of 7 p.m. Wednesday, there was still no sign of Pugh. He deactivated his Facebook and Twitter accounts and his phone was turned off, according to a friend who told WWJ he’s worried.
Why Pugh disappeared remains unconfirmed, but it seems it’s connected to allegations now surfacing that he had an inappropriate relationship with a Detroit Public Schools student he mentored.
Ivan Land, an Oak Park attorney representing the teen’s mother, claims Pugh took the student off campus in a city car and gave him gifts including cash and a mobile phone on which he text messaged the teen.
Speaking at a news conference, Land said the teen’s family is suing the school district for failing to protect the boy, who was 17 when he met Pugh through a leadership program at Frederick Douglass Academy for Young Men.
If Pugh is indeed off the job, that leaves Detroit City Council with only six remaining members after Kwame Kenyatta recently quit and Gary Brown moved on to a position in Orr’s office.
The Council lost much of its authority when Orr was hired by the state in March to fix Detroit’s finances.