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Revised Charter Includes Office Of The Ombudsman

DETROIT (WWJ) - At first it was out, but now the Office of the Ombudsman is back in the final draft of the Detroit Charter Revision Commission's revised charter.

Detroit Charter Revision Commission member Reggie Davis said the commission has decided to retain the office of the Ombudsman now that it is proposing to reduce the number of City Council members to seven.

"We've decided to bring the Ombudsman back because that will relieve some of the amount of work that the legislative body will be receiving in the district," Davis said.

Shrinking Detroit's City Council to seven members is not necessarily going to be a money saver for the City though. Davis said the seven members of Council would still have the same funding as the nine member body has now.

"We will allow them to decide on what they wish to do with that. We're going to keep on, we're going to stay on the framework idea of laying out a policy making for the city and that is what the charter is all about," Davis said.

Each council member currently has a budget of $600,000 and the Council President gets about $800,000 for his staff and operation.

The U.S. Ombudsman Association defined a Governmental Ombudsman as "an independent, impartial public official with authority and responsibility to receive, investigate or informally address complaints about government actions, and, when appropriate, make findings and recommendations, and publish reports."

In September 2005, Durene L. Brown was unanimously appointed by the Detroit City Council to serve 10 years as the City Ombudsman.

The Detroit Charter Revision Commission meets for the last time 6:00 pm Tuesday at the Northwest Activity Center.

Their revised charter must go to the Governor for review. Then, Detroit voters could vote it up or down in November.

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