Started in 2009. Most notable for introducing council-by-district, with seven proposed districts and two at-large members.



  • Presented draft charter recommendations.
  • 21-23 May: The Commission suddenly recommends five districts and two at-large members instead of seven and two, citing the drop in Detroit's population.
  • 25: Detroiters protest change in number of councilmembers. It is uncertain if the Commission will reach quorum at its final meeting in order to reverse its decision. Four of the nine members have excused absences.
  • 28: Six Charter Commission members vote to adopt the charter draft. Two were absent, and one was out of the room when the roll was called. The Commission recommended seven district-based members and two at-large members, reversing their earlier reversal to cut the number of districts by two.
  • 31: The will be sent to the State for review. The attorney general and governor have 90 days to check if the draft complies with state law. If the draft is approved, it will appear on the November 8, 2011 ballot in Detroit.


Charles Pugh sends an email to constituents requesting that they oppose the charter because it removes the ability for Council to approve many appointees. The Charter Commission warns that this message may violate campaign finance rules.


On November 8, 2011, the Charter proposal (Proposal C on the ballot) passed ,848 to 24,094 (about 58 to 42%). It will become effective on January 1, 2012.

Post Ratification


Many of the new charter provisions don't go into effect immediately, potentially saving the city money as the Council and the Bing Administration grapple with the threat of state takeover. For example, the city needs to create the framework for the Office of Inspector General by March 2012, but there is no deadline for actually hiring staff.



  • The Free Press Editorial Board. Writes that the benefits of the new charter outweigh the "numerous" problems "by a substantial margin." Cites new ethics rules, Council-by-district, and revenue-estimating conferences as important steps forward.
  • Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press. Argues that the charter is flawed for not reducing the size of government, allowing councilmembers to draw the districts, and requiring Council approval for selling city land. Argues that district-based representation and new ethics regulations outweigh the problems.
  • Vince Keenan in Model D. Writes that the process has been "one of the most open and transparent efforts Detroit has ever seen." Argues that the new charter is a way to "redraft our social contract with optimism and resolve."


  • Charles Pugh - Council President Charles Pugh said he would ask voters to not support the new charter because it takes power from Council. Specifically, it removes the ability for Council to confirm every mayoral appointee and reconfirm every appointment at the end of the year. The Commission warned Pugh in October 2011 that his communications might break campaign finance laws.
  • The Michigan Citizen. Published an article on October 30, 2011 that outlines problems found in the proposed charter, including Council's loss of the ability to approve appointees. Also raises concerns about "regionalization without protections," or the possibility of services and pensions being transferred to the State.
  • Mayoral candidate Tom Barrow, who formed a group called Citizens for Detroit's Future to oppose Proposal C. The group did not have a website as of November 8, 2011, and its reasoning is unknown.



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