Detroit, MI asked in Gov & Administrative Law and Municipal Law for Michigan

Q: Does the Michigan Governor have authority to remove locally elected City officials (NOT Township officials)?

4 Albion City Councilmembers illegally /improperly removed 4 appointed board members from the Albion Economic Development Corporation: on or about 21 August 2023. No advance notification of the removal was provided to the 4 EDC Board members. No written description or statement of the basis for board member removal has been provided to the removed members. No opportunity to review, respond or other wise defend themselves, was provided to the removed board members. Both the attorney of record for the Albion EDC and City Attorney for the City of Attorney provided written legal opinions to the City Council cautioning the Council did not have legal authority to remove the EDC Board members and cautioning such legal action would invite legal action against the city. The Albion City Council held a special meeting on 21 August and voted 4 to 3 to remove the EDC Board members based on the verbal assertion of "lack of transparency." A removed EDC Board member is filing suit against the City.

1 Lawyer Answer
Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers
  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: Your question is way too complex for general legal advice. It's highly technical. Believe it or not, not all cities are created equal; by statute, there are distinctions based largely on size and charter. But your question alludes to the basics of state government: counties and cities are distinct entities, both of which separately report to the state government. A city (and it's commission) is not responsive to the county it is located in. And counties have little governing authority over cities.

The issues you raise may certainly have merit, and are likely of the type that few have experience with for a definitive answer.

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