The Detroit City Council selected Saunteel Jenkins to ascend to president for the remainder of the year to replace Charles Pugh, who remains missing amid allegations of an having inappropriate relationship with a teenage boy.
The council also chose Andre Spivey to become president pro tem, a position that Gary Brown recently vacated so he could begin working with state-appointed Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.
Long-time Councilman Ken Cockrel, who briefly served as mayor in 2008 when Kwame Kilpatrick resigned, surprised colleagues when he announced he may resign before his term ends on Dec. 31.
“In this job market, I would be a fool to wait putting out a resume,” Cockrel said today. “I’m married and have five kids. I have to do what I have to do.”
Only six of the council’s nine members remain since the legislative body lost most of its authority under the emergency manager law earlier this year. Councilman Kwame Kenyatta resigned last month, saying the legislative body has been stripped of any power.
Jenkins, who opposes the emergency manager, struck a conciliatory tone.
“These are very difficult times for the city of Detroit,” Jenkins told council members. “The emergency manager is in place, and we have to deal with the world as we find it today. The council still has a very vital role to play in the city. As elected representatives of the people of Detroit, it’s our responsibility that their voice be heard. I believe we will be successful, only if we can find a way to work together.”
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.