In early 2003: The mayor was Bill Urich; The city manager was Larry Doyle; The police chief was Ted Quisenberry; The court administrator was Kevin Sutherland; and the chief complaining resident was Byron Photiades.
The lead paragraph on the piece written by Mike Martindale reads: "Battle lines aren't just being drawn here, they're spidering across the city over allegations of abuse of public office and funds."
The economy was bad enough that the city was watching its pennies, including imposing strict travel limits. The court, traditionally managing its own funds, was criticized for sending its judges and/or administrator to places like Hawaii and Oregon. The general financial complaints were a bit fuzzier, but then-resident Pat Capello complained, "When you ask some officials questions, you get vague and confusing answers, or in some cases, lectured."
Resident Photiades complained, "It appears the court can do whatever it wants with our money and no one asks questions." Court administrator Sutherland responded, "We have done nothing wrong and travel and training is a recognized and required expense."
Capello (spelled Copello in the story) was alluding to the fact that Urich had scolded residents who vigorously opposed a proposed condo project during "a jammed public meeting."
Police chief Quisenberry "drew the wrath of the police officers' union after a series of disciplinary measures against some of the 85 officers represented by the union." The chief countered, "There has been 30 years of dysfunctioning here. Some people don't like it that changes are coming. Some people resent that I will find them accountable for their actions."
City manager Doyle and the police chief had been labeled "bullies" by the police and some of their supporters who were pressuring Doyle to fire the chief. (Not in the Detroit News story are later developments which forced Doyle's resignation. Quisenberry stayed.)
Sitting at The Table with the already mentioned mayor and city manager were city clerk Mary Ellen Graver, city attorney Chuck Semchena, and commissioners Marie Donigan, Carlo Ginotti, Tom Hallock, Ilene Lanfear, Christopher Lyon, and Jeanne Sarnacki.
Frank Versagi is the editor of Versagi Voice.