Detroit City Council
Detroit City Council
|Founded||1824 (as the Common Council)|
Council political groups
|Council committees||Budget and Finance,|
Neighborhood and Community Services,
Law and Public Safety,
Planning and Economic Development
Length of term
|Authority||Article 4, Chapter 1, Charter of the City of Detroit, 2012|
Council voting system
|First-past-the-post (district seats)|
Block voting (at-large seats)
Council last election
|November 7, 2017|
|Speramus Meliora, Resurget Cineribus|
(We hope for better things, It will rise from the ashes)
|13th floor, Coleman A. Young Municipal Building|
The Detroit City Council is the legislative body of Detroit, Michigan, United States. The full-time council is required to meet every business day for at least 10 months of the year, with at least eight of these meetings occurring at a location besides city hall. The council may convene for special meetings at the call of the mayor or at least four members of council.
The City Council was first constituted as the legislative body of the city in 1824. The city began to grow more rapidly in the late 19th century, absorbing immigrants from Europe and migrants from the rural South and other areas. This body was called the Common Council until July 1, 1974.
Until the early 20th century, the council was elected from city wards, or single-member districts. However, starting in 1918, at a time of changes in local government thought to be Progressive, the city council voted to require all city council members elected at-large. This required most of the council members to attract a majority of votes, reducing representation by populations from individual wards, where various ethnic groups tended to concentrate. It was considered unusual for a city of Detroit's size, which had competing political parties.
While voters in the city have become predominately affiliated with the Democratic Party, they wanted more representation by district. On November 4, 2009, city voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum to once again elect seven of the nine council seats from single-member districts, and two at-large seats, beginning in 2013.
Composition & Election
The council is composed of nine members, seven of whom are elected from single-member districts using first-past-the-post voting, with two additional members elected at-large using block voting. The council includes two officers, the president and president pro tempore, who are elected from among the members of the council at the beginning of each new session of the body for four-year terms. The officers can be removed by a unanimous vote of council, exclusive of the member being removed, during any session meeting. Elections to the body are officially non-partisan.
City Council Electoral Districts
A major overhaul of Detroit City Charter took place in 2012. This change moved to election by district for 7 districts and 2 at-large positions.
|District||Councillor||Position||In office since||Party (officially nonpartisan)|
|District 1||James Tate||2009||Democratic|
|District 2||Roy McCalister Jr||2017||Democratic|
|District 3||Scott Benson||2013||Democratic|
|District 4||André L. Spivey||2009||Democratic|
|District 5||Mary Sheffield||2013||Democratic|
|District 6||Raquel Castañeda-López||2013||Democratic|
|District 7||Gabe Leland||2013||Democratic|
a. At-large Councilwoman Saunteel Jenkins, first elected in 2009, resigned her seat in October 2014.
b. Janee Ayers, appointed by a vote of City Council 6-2, began serving office on February 17, 2015 to fill the vacancy.
Castañeda-López is the city's first Hispanic council member and represents a district in Southwest Detroit.
The council has five standing committees:
- Budget and Finance
- Neighborhood and Community Services
- Human Resources
- Law and Public Safety
- Planning and Economic Development
The council is granted the power to form additional committees at its own discretion
Vacancies and special elections
If a vacancy occurs on the city council, it is filled by appointment of the city council based on a two-thirds vote of its existing members. The appointee serves until the next general election scheduled in the city, be that an election to fill federal, state, county or city offices. However, the seat remains vacant if the vacancy occurs fewer than 180 days before the next citywide general election.
Starting in 1919, nine Detroit City Council members were elected at large. Members of the council, from 1919 to the present, are:
- Color coding: pink = Republican; blue = Democratic; light green = Farmer-Labor; dark green = Progressive; gray = unaffiliated.
Salaries for elected officials are recommended every odd-numbered year by the Detroit Elected Officials Compensation Commission. The 7-member board is appointed by the mayor and approved by the council, each member serving a 7-year term.
After being recommended by the compensation commission, City Council approved a pay increase of 3% on November 19, 2019. Regular City Council members will be paid $82,749 annually, while the City Council President will be paid $94,000. Recommendations for salaries were recommended and approved in 2015 and 2017. Prior to 2015 increases had not happened since 2001.
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- (PDF) https://www.jpmorganchase.com/corporate/About-JPMC/document/pac-2017-annual-report.pdf. Retrieved May 25, 2019. Missing or empty
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- "Roy McCalister Jr". Ballotpedia. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
- "Scott Benson". Ballotpedia. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
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- "Mary Sheffield (Michigan)". Ballotpedia. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
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- "Detroit council taps union leader to fill vacancy". The Detroit News. Christine Ferretti. February 18, 2015. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
- "Southwest Detroit voters elect 1st Latina council member" (Archive). Detroit Free Press. November 5, 2013. Retrieved on July 12, 2015.
- "The Proposed Detroit City Charter" (PDF). crcmich.org/. Citizens Research Council of Michigan. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
- "Detroit City Council, 1919 to present". Detroit Public Library. Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved November 6, 2010.
- Ferretti, Christine (November 19, 2019). "Detroit City Council approves pay raises for members, mayor". The Detroit News. Gary Miles. Retrieved April 26, 2020.
- "Part IV - Detroit City Code, Article II. Elected Officials, Division 1. - Elected Officials Compensation Commission". Municode. Retrieved April 26, 2020.