Detroit City Council names political progressive Mary Sheffield president

January 05, 2022, 1:05 PM

Council President Pro Tem Mary Sheffield

Detroit City Council's new president is ideologically to the left of Mayor Mike Duggan and has opposed him on a number of key issues.

Former council pro-tem Mary Sheffield, 33, was promoted to the top spot in a 7-2 vote Tuesday, while third-term Councilmember James Tate was selected to replace her as number two.

The Detroit News provides background on the new president:

In recent years, Sheffield has clashed with Duggan on Detroit's controversial federally funded demolition effort and the city's handling of $600 million in over-assessments during a six-year period through 2016.

Duggan's office in 2020 pitched a relief plan for residents overtaxed prior to 2014. The initiative sought to give residents priority in affordable housing, home-buying discounts and job opportunities. But the majority of the former council, including Sheffield, who has partnered with tax justice groups critical of the city's assessment practices, argued that the recommendations didn't go far enough.

Greg Bowens, a Grosse Pointe Park-based political consultant and former spokesman for ex-Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer, said Sheffield's fierce advocacy can be encouraging but she will have to work within the parameters of the position to create change.

Sheffield, in her last term, spearheaded a set of ordinances coined "The People's Bills," which aimed to address water affordability and inequities in housing, jobs and other quality-of-life concerns.

"Mary could be that person to reshape that dynamic as the city council president who pounds the gavel at the table and sets the agenda," Bowens said.

The paper quotes another political consultant typically aligned with mayoral causes as saying that while Sheffield and the mayor may disagree, "they’ve had a good working relationship."

Council has six new members after Councilmembers Andre Spivey and Gabe Leland resigned last year following corruption charges and Councilmember Janeé Ayers lost her re-election bid after an FBI raid on her home and office.

The new members are Mary Waters and Coleman A. Young II (both at-large), Gabriela Santiago-Romero (District 6), Latisha Johnson (District 4), Angela Calloway (District 2) and Fred Durhal III (District 7).

Read more:  The Detroit News

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