Detroit leaders tout progress at swearing-in

Christine Ferretti
The Detroit News

Detroit — The city’s elected leaders celebrated their achievements and vowed Tuesday a continued commitment to Detroiters during a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony at City Hall.

Mayor Mike Duggan, City Clerk Janice Winfrey, members of Detroit’s City Council and the city’s Board of Police Commissioners gathered before a crowd of about 500 for the program on the 13th floor of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center.

U.S. Appellate Judge Damon Keith conducted the swearing-in beginning by crediting Duggan for his success, saying that for Detroit, the mayor has “done the impossible.”

“It’s just wonderful that this place is full of enthusiasm and commitment for what you have done for our great city,” Keith said during the program.

“As you look at this crowd here today, to think where we were four years ago and where we are now, it’s unbelievable ... that one person can make a difference,” Keith added. “And Mayor Duggan, you have made a difference.”

Duggan was re-elected Nov. 7 to his second, four-year term as Detroit’s mayor, defeating challenger State Sen. Coleman A. Young II by a 2-1 margin. He’s vowed his focus going forward will be a “one Detroit for all of us.”

The mayor on Tuesday touted the partnership between his office and the city’s council.

“We have go to extend Detroit’s recovery to every neighborhood and we’ve got to extend opportunity to every Detroiter,” Duggan said. “We have to shift from making the services work to a city where everybody is included and everybody is participating.”

One method of attacking the issue, Duggan said, will be through the addition of small business district managers in Detroit’s seven council districts to help fill vacant neighborhood storefronts with a focus on Detroit-based hiring.

When asked whether he’s considering a bid for Michigan governor, Duggan quickly rejected the idea.

“I’m not running for governor in 2018. You guys need to quit asking me that,” he told reporters. He added he hasn’t yet committed his support to any of the gubernatorial candidates.

Detroit’s City Council President Brenda Jones, Pro Tem Mary Sheffield and members Gabe Leland, Andre Spivey, James Tate, Raquel Castaneda-Lopez, Janee Ayers, Scott Benson and the panel’s sole new member, Roy McCalister Jr., also took the oath of office administered by Keith.

Jones addressed the crowd on behalf of the body Tuesday, noting the changes Detroit has seen since she first was elected 12 years ago.

“Do you all remember when they said ‘turn off the lights?’ We are here today and the lights are beaming,” Jones said. “Because we have the spirit, Detroit. We are the spirit of Detroit.”

In the last four years, Jones noted the council held about 175 formal sessions, 36 evening community meetings, conducted more than 800 subcommittee sessions and listened to about 250 hours of public comment.

Detroit’s Clerk Janice Winfrey begins her fourth term after a narrow win over challenger Garlin Gilchrist II. After losing, Gilchrist initiated a recount over claims of “chaos and confusion” among absentee voters, but Winfrey prevailed.

Winfrey on Tuesday said she’s “focused and determined” to make Detroit better for residents.

“I do it for you because you do it and you are entitled to it,” she said. “You give us our class, our swag and our urbanism. Thank you for allowing me to serve you.”

Among those in attendance Tuesday were Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Nikolai Vitti and city department heads.