Detroit corporation counsel leaving Duggan administration for law firm

The Detroit News

Detroit's corporation counsel is leaving the city administration for another job next month, he announced Wednesday.

In a Facebook post, Lawrence Garcia said he would become senior counsel at the Miller Canfield law firm on Dec. 20.

His last day with Mayor Mike Duggan's administration is on Dec. 8, he wrote.

"It has been an amazing journey working alongside Mayor Mike Duggan and a great group of colleagues, and I am forever grateful for all the experiences," Garcia said.

In a statement Wednesday night, Duggan said he will nominate a candidate to replace Garcia when the new City Council takes office in January. Until then, his deputy, Charles Raimi, will serve as the interim corporation counsel.  

Lawrence Garcia

Garcia had been in his role for four years.

"Over the past four years, Lawrence has done an impeccable job representing the City of Detroit in highly complex matters and protecting the rights of Detroiters," Duggan said. "Nowhere was that more evident than his leadership in ensuring access to voting in the 2020 election and defending against the many baseless attacks that ensued.  Because of Lawrence’s work Detroit was able to conduct a fair election with historic voter turnout that ensured every Detroiter’s vote counted."

Duggan added that "he and his team’s work on the FCA/Stellantis and Amazon deals was critical to our ability to land those developments that are bringing 7,000 jobs to Detroit. Above all, Lawrence always maintained the highest degree of integrity in his service to our city. Miller Canfield is lucky to have him."

There was also recent controversy.

He was the subject of a complaint that city Inspector General Ellen Ha recently filed with the state's Attorney Grievance Commission that claimed he "improperly intervened in our investigations."

At a City Council session this month, Garcia defended his actions and said he looked forward to any process that would resolve the dispute.

"I'm not interested in a resolution that will be an abdication of my responsibility," he said. "As Corporation Counsel, I have a responsibility to assist employees when they are engaged in legal matters arising out of their work for the city. That's in the charter."

Duggan also supported Garcia, saying city employees have faced several inspector general investigations at the state level with lawyers and no one has previously objected.

"I have no idea why the inspector general is trying to deny people their statutory right to counsel and that's all Mr. Garcia is saying is, if an employee gets called in ... we're going to make sure that employee has an attorney to protect their rights," Duggan told reporters.