Arrest of Dearborn Fire Chief Exemplifies the Importance of Thorough Analysis of Candidates Before Voting.
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Fire Truck Rushing in City Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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There are many issues in this country that, at first glance, may be seen as items that citizens have no control over (i.e. tax revenue distribution, public service program proposals, or the appointment of public defense executives). American democracy, the current system  that is in place, allows for an indirect way of voting for these decisions. 

Dearborn Fire Chief Joseph Murray was arrested and taken into custody on Aug. 29, 2023, in Dearborn Heights for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. Murray was silently returned to work by the Michigan Civil Service Commission (MCSC) on Oct. 30, 2023, and faced no charges, or any other repercussions for that matter. This response to the incident makes it seem as if the MCSC has no regard for the safety of our city and the well-being of our fire department, an essential part of Michigan’s public defense and safety. Despite citizens not being able to vote on the chairmen for the commission, we are able elect who appoints the chairman and collectively, a better job  needs to be done at that. It’s important to familiarize oneself with the  full scope of power government officials hold in order to be able to hold them accountable for all their actions because their decisions affect the wellbeing of citizens and the functioning of society. 

 The Civil Service Commission is made up of four chair members named by the state’s governor. For the state of Michigan,  Governor Gretchen Whitmer would be responsible for making this selection.. The current commissioners are Chairs Jase Bolger, Nick Ciaramitaro, Jeff Steffel, and Gail M. Wilson. We elected Whitmer to govern this state, and she appointed irresponsible members to the MCSC who in turn reinstated a felon into a position of power.

It’s not common knowledge that the governor holds a power such as what was described. Candidates are not required to openly state every single plan, appointment of officials, or programs they wish to implement once elected. Therefore, it can be argued that it’s out of our hands. The truth is that if more citizens are educated on these issues and the logistics in which are state government operates then, collectively, we can make more informed decisions moving forward.. While campaigning, a candidate might attend press conferences, hold Question and Answer sessions, recite speeches, etc. These are all things the public can interact with and use to their advantage to gain further insight into the plans of the candidate. For example, during a press conference, someone could have asked who Whitmer plans on appointing to the MCSC chairs. 

Here are all the powers that the governor of Michigan has right to execute: 

  • Sign or veto laws passed by state legislature,
  • Suggest a Legislative Program,
  • Set a budget for legislation,
  • Grant Pardons for any crime with the exception of cases dealing with impeachment by the legislature,
  • Enforcement of State Laws,
  • Appoint members of the Michigan Civil Service Commission,
  • Appoint judges,
  • Appoint, with observation and consultation of the Senate, and manage department heads,
  • Appoint 10 of the state’s 13 members of public university governing boards and department commissions,
  • Suspend or terminate any public office officers, electives, or appointive of their position, 
  • Reorganize executive agencies and departments,
  • Propose a state budget,
  • Sue fellow executives, 
  • Command state militia, and
  • Put forth a State of The State address (an annual speech regarding the focus of the branch for the next year.)

For those who are already elected and in positions of power, such as Whitmer,  there are still ways to ensure they stay liable to their actions.. X , formerly known as Twitter, is a great platform you can utilize to not only stay updated on current events but to also voice your own opinion and even reach out to government officials via direct messaging or replies. Rallies and protests are also a great tool to bring an issue into light and garner attention from the government and lawful action take place.. 

This is not to say that government officials who commit wrongful acts should be removed from their positions, but that their extent of responsibilities they have should become more common knowledge, so the public can hold them accountable and limit their ability to conceal decisions. At the end of the day, it is the citizens of this country who decides who’s in charge.

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