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HomeTop NewsWarren Mayor Jim Fouts eligible to be on city ballot, judge rules

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts eligible to be on city ballot, judge rules


The Warren city clerk and city Election Commission won round one in two lawsuits questioning whether Warren Mayor Jim Fouts is eligible to run for a fifth term in office this year. But an appeal is already in the works. Macomb County Circuit Judge Joseph Toia on Thursday granted a motion for summary disposition to Clerk Sonja Buffa and the Election Commission, which said Fouts is eligible for reelection this year.

Toia denied a motion from the City Council and Councilman Ron Papandrea that challenged Fouts’ eligibility, saying Fouts is ineligible to run because of term limits approved by voters in 2020. City Council seeks fast review of its planned appeal “We are already working on the appeal,” said Jeff Schroder, an attorney representing the City Council. “We respectfully disagree.

The ballot language was clear that all prior terms were included. ” Schroder said the appellate court will be asked to act on an expedited basis because this is an election qualification issue. The deadline to file for office is late April.

Schroder said the City Council previously approved filing an appeal if it lost its lawsuit. “In my opinion, they will win on appeal, and it will be reversed,” Papandrea said. More: Warren Mayor Jim Fouts files to run for 5th term despite term limit amendment More: Court may decide whether Warren Mayor Fouts will be on ballot for fifth term Fouts: Ruling ‘not a victory for me’ but for residents “Today’s ruling by Judge Toia was not a victory for me, it was a victory for the residents of Warren and the rule of law,” Fouts said in a statement.

“This ruling ensures that the voters will have a choice. A choice improves the outcome of any election. In a democracy, choice is essential.

” Fouts called the lawsuit “frivolous” and said “elections have consequences, and when impacted by court rulings that dilute voters’ rights, as the 2019 decision did, we end up with the negative consequences like our great city has experienced as a result of this council’s inactions. ” “I’m looking forward to working with a new reformed council who are community leaders focused on protecting and serving our real boss Warren residents, not a council who takes orders from an out-of-county law firm. My administration continues to be focused on safe streets, great essential services, clean water, a vibrant growing economy and finally a walkable downtown at no cost to residents.

” As of Feb. 6, Fouts, Papandrea, City Council President Pat Green and Macomb County Commissioner Michelle Nard had filed to run for mayor. Judge cites muddy term-limit ballot language Fouts, a longtime politician in the city, is seeking a fifth, four-year term, which would run from November 2023 to November 2027.

When attorneys argued the cases before Toia on Monday, he repeatedly asked why specific language about any terms or years served prior to the amendment wasn’t included in the ballot question voters were posed in 2020, unlike in prior term-limit questions before voters in 1998 and 2016. Schroder said the language was included in the explanatory caption that appeared with the 2020 ballot question. This language was at the heart of Toia’s 11-page opinion.

“Since the passage of the 2020 amendment and with the 2023 election approaching, confusion has ensued surrounding Fouts’s eligibility to run this year. This confusion is based on the fact that the ‘any terms or years served prior to this amendment are included’ language was included in the ballot’s explanatory caption, but was not included in the ‘proposal’ section on the ballot or in the amended charter,” Toia wrote. More: Eastpointe mayor accused of lying on application for $10K COVID-19 business grant More: More pets, fewer vets bring strain on veterinary profession “This is especially troubling considering Plaintiff previously included similar limiting language regarding prior terms served on the ballot proposal and in the amended Charter language in 1998, but failed to do so with the 2020 amendment and Charter language at issue here.

” Toia later wrote: “the evidence presented demonstrates that the ballot language and Charter are not clear on whether previous terms served are counted towards the current term limits. ” What did the voters intend? Voters in 2020 approved a city charter amendment that a mayor may only serve three four-year terms, or 12 years, like other elected officials in the city. The 2020 vote didn’t affect Fouts’ fourth four-year term, which began in 2019, but it did appear that he would be unable to seek a fifth term.

But City Attorney Ethan Vinson issued an opinion indicating that voter-approved term limits in 2020 that appeared to bar Fouts from running for a fifth term as mayor didn’t apply to his situation. Vinson’s opinion, which was accepted by the city Election Commission during an Election Day meeting in November, stated it was not clear that the ballot proposal approved by voters in 2020 should apply to Fouts. Papandrea asked the court to order the city Election Commission to remove from the August primary ballot the names of candidates who have served three terms in office or held office for more than 12 years.

The City Council alleged that “under the plain language of the city charter” Fouts is ineligible for a fifth term in office. It believes the provision that previously permitted a fifth four-year term — a ballot measure approved by voters in 2016 — was repealed in 2020. Fouts was not named as a defendant in the lawsuits.

Contact Christina Hall: [email protected]. com. Follow her on Twitter: @challreporter.

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