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Could Gary Brown’s New Position Violate City Charter?

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Gary Brown

Gary Brown

Charlie-Langton Charlie Langton
My real job is an attorney. I have been practicing law for nearly 25...
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DETROIT (WWJ) Detroit City Charter says for one year after leaving, a public servant cannot be paid by the city for knowledge accrued in elected office.

So, where does that leave Gary Brown, a cop turned whistleblower turned city councilman — who just parlayed his position into a $225,000 a year job in the emergency manager’s administration as a compliance officer? Brown, a retired cop, quit council to take the high-paying job where he will oversee the restructuring of Detroit’s public services.

But was it legal? Some argue it is, saying the city charter has been trumped by Kevyn Orr in his role as emergency manager. Others think there could be a charter violation case brewing against Brown.

In announcing his resignation, Brown told WWJ 950, “With the knowledge, skills and ability I have acquired over the past decades in both the public and private sectors, this opportunity was the perfect fit in my effort to provide meaningful service to all Detroiters.”

“Interesting,” WWJ’s legal analyst Charlie Langton said. “There clearly is an issue, that’s for sure. If there was no emergency manager, I do believe Gary Brown violated the charter, but the issue will be, can the emergency manager trump the city charter?”

Langton said for politicians who want to make the argument the state is taking over the city — this is political dynamite.

“Anyone looking to prove the state has taken over the city, now has 225,000 reasons,” Langton said, adding because the emergency manager was appointed under state law, and the charter is city law, there’s also an argument that Orr trumps City Charter.

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