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Thursday, December 2, 2021

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    Detroit Election Commission declines to contest plan to fill Gabe Leland’s council seat

    Detroit — The Detroit Election Commission declined to step into a “legal question” surrounding the vacant seat formerly held by councilman Gabe Leland at its meeting Wednesday.

    At issue is whether the Detroit City Council’s May 25 decision that the winner of the District 7 election on Nov. 2 immediately begin serving the remaining weeks of Leland’s term that expires Dec. 31 is in compliance with the city charter. 

    Detroit Corporation Counsel Lawrence Garcia called the matter a “legal question.”

    “The appropriate place for that to be settled is in a court of law, not by this body,” Garcia told commissioners.

    “The council has reached a decision on how to handle this partial term in the coming election,” Garcia said. “Under our charter, council is in charge of filling vacancies on the council.”

    Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey, chair of the commission, agreed.

    “This district will be represented,” Winfrey said. “There is no action for this body to take.”

    On May 25, the City Council opted not to appoint a replacement and decided that whoever won the Nov. 2 election would immediatelyfill the remainder of Leland’s term that ends Dec. 31.

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