Nicole Brown was appointed as mayor pro-tempore at the Ypsilanti City Council meeting on Tuesday, July 7.
This meeting was the first since former mayor Beth Bashert resigned. Her resignation was prompted by the public and city council members after racist comments she made at the city council meeting on June 16.
Mayor Lois Richardson was formerly mayor pro-tem. Her appointment as mayor left a vacancy for mayor pro-tempore that Brown has filled.
They will both remain in office until the 2020 general election in November when the Ypsilanti City Council will elect the next mayor pro tempore for the City of Ypsilanti.
The individual the city council elects as mayor pro tempore in November 2020 will then assume the role of mayor of Ypsilanti until the term ends in November 2022. In addition to appointing the mayor, Ypsilanti City Council will appoint a mayor pro-tempore for the next two years following the general election.
For more information on this process, see Beth Bashert has resigned as mayor of Ypsilanti: what that means going forward
The mayor is the only public office normally elected by a citywide vote, but because the city will not be able to vote for another mayor until November 2022, some voiced concern at the meeting on Tuesday, July 7, during the public comments portion.
“A part of the transition I hope to see is expansive and democratic interpretation of our guiding documents and I bring this up because I am against our Election Commission’s interpretation of our city charter and the successive appointment procedure that cuts off the direct participation from [the public] electing our representatives,” said Amber Fellows, former chair of the Human Relations Commission.
“Because of this, I strongly recommend recognizing a community process for selecting an appointment for a mayor and any other vacancies in November, either via a people’s assembly or an unofficial people’s ranks choice voting; something that shows there was some citizen participation.”
Fellows was decommissioned by Bashert in October 2019 making her the third commissioner of color to be decommissioned by Bashert in six months at that time. Fellows asked that the City Council formally invite the former commissioners, including herself, to consider serving again “as well as outreach potential appointees that are underrepresented” in Ypsilanti’s commissions.