Mary Sheffield appointed president of Detroit City Council

click to enlarge Councilwoman Mary Sheffield speaks at Detroit Center for Innovation press conference in December. - CITY OF DETROIT
City of Detroit
Councilwoman Mary Sheffield speaks at Detroit Center for Innovation press conference in December.

The Detroit City Council has a new leader.

The council on Tuesday appointed Councilwoman Mary Sheffield to serve as its president. She previously served as president pro-tempore.

Councilman James Tate was appointed president pro-tempore.

“I am humbled to join the ranks of former Council Presidents Sen. Carl Levin, Erma Henderson, Gil Hill, Maryann Mahaffey and more recently Brenda Jones who all have ushered Detroit through some of its darkest and best times,” Sheffield said in a statement. “While I recognize that holding this title is truly an honor and something to be proud of, I, more importantly, understand the assignment and responsibilities that come with such an esteemed position. I stand ready to work diligently with my fellow Council Members, our Legislative Policy Division, the Administration and the residents of Detroit to deliver real and tangible quality of life improving results for those we serve.”

Sheffield’s appointment comes at a potentially defining moment for the council. Six of the nine council members are new. They are Mary Waters, Angela Calloway, Fred Durhal II, Latisha Johnson, Gabriela Santiago-Romero, and Coleman Young II. The returning council members are Sheffield, Tate, and Scott Benson.

The FBI also is investigating some current and former council members as part of “Operation Northern Hook,” a corruption probe focused on towing contracts. The FBI raided the homes and offices of Benson and former Councilwoman Janeé Ayers, who lost her re-election bid in November.

Andre Spivey resigned from the council in September after pleading guilty to conspiring with an unidentified staff member to commit bribery. He was the first person to be charged as part of the investigation.

In an unrelated case that also involved bribery, former Councilman Gabe Leland resigned in May and was sentenced to probation for misconduct in office.

Sheffield promised to work on “re-establishing the reputation of Council and restoring the faith the Community has in this Body.”

“I pledge to do my part to help foster the decorum, civility and effectiveness that should be the norm with a democratically elected body,” Sheffield said.

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