(Crystal A. Proxmire)
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Citizens for a Fair Ferndale (CFF) is holding an Issue Forum regarding the local ballot question concerning the proposed amendment to the City Charter. The forum will be held on Saturday, October 23, 2010 from 1:00 – 2:30 pm at the Ferndale Library, 222 E. Nine Mile Rd. The forum will give Ferndale citizens the opportunity to learn about the proposed City Charter Amendment and to ask any questions they have. The forum is being co-sponsored by the Ferndale Public Library.
The issue has been placed on the ballot for voters to decide if they would like to give the City Manager the authority to serve as the manager over city departments such as Clerks, Police and Fire. Currently City Department Heads work with the City Manager out of courtesy, though the real management responsibility lies with Council. This has caused communication and cooperation problems in the City, particularly during the budget process. In June Council voted to revise the Charter and assign administrative power to the City Manager. To read more about the events leading up to Council’s decision, please see our June 17, 2010 article at http://www.ferndale115.com/20100616powershift.html.
The vote was 4-1, with Councilperson Michael Lennon casting the dissenting vote. The decision upset resident Thomas Gagne who, along with his wife Tiffani and other friends and neighbors, led a successful petition drive to have the change put to a public vote. To read more about the petition drive, go to our July 1, 2010 article at http://www.ferndale115.com/20100701ord1094.html. Gagne also has blogged about the subject on his Everyone Takes Their Turn Blog, explaining why he feels the City should not have made the change – http://tggagne.blogspot.com/2010/06/repeal-ordinance-1094.html. He says that his objection is more with the way the Council made the decision than with the change in itself, and also has made reference to his dramatic interpretation of events called A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Council Meeting: http://tggagne.blogspot.com/2010/06/funny-thing-happened-on-way-to-council.html. Please note that it’s a satire piece, and if you want to watch the meeting for yourself go to: http://www.ferndale-mi.com/Services/Cable/CityCouncilVideo.htm, and look for the June 14, 2010 video.
Another group of residents has gotten together and formed Citizens for a More Responsive Government to explain their rationale behind the Charter Change, which would make Ferndale’s administrative structure similar to other cities in the area. Their FAQ page addresses many of the questions that a voter might have about the proposed change: http://www.ferndalechange.com/?page_id=2. Their main arguments are that a “yes” vote will help to save the City money, make it more efficient, and restructure the government the same way nearly every other city in the area already has.
Residents will be able to ask questions in person to a representative from both sides of the issue at the public forum on Oct. 23, 2010. Feel free to come prepared with questions written neatly on index cards, otherwise there will be blank cards available at the forum. Though it has not been officially confirmed, Councilperson Scott Galloway is expected to represent Citizens for a More Responsive Government, and Thomas Gagne is expected to represent the residents who signed the petition to have this issue brought to a public vote.
CFF’s mission is to foster a community that is dedicated to the fair and equal treatment of all residents and visitors regardless of sexual orientation, race, color, religion, gender, age, height, weight, familial status, national origin, physical or mental disability. They typically host candidate and issue-related forums in cases where The League of Women Voters does not.
Learn more about CFF at www.fairferndale.org. Or contact them for more information:
CFF48220@aol.com or (248) 541-2069. To find out more about the Ferndale Public Library go to http://www.ferndale.lib.mi.us/.