Taylor's mayor found in contempt, but avoids jail - FOX 32 News Chicago

Taylor's mayor found in contempt, but avoids jail

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Taylor Mayor Jeffrey Lamarand  (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com) Taylor Mayor Jeffrey Lamarand (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com)

Taylor's Mayor Jeffrey Lamarand appeared in Wayne County Circuit Court Friday and was quickly found in civil contempt.  Judge Kathleen Macdonald did not throw him in jail, but fined the mayor $250 and ordered him to pay the city council's attorneys' fees out of his own pocket.  She also accused him of lying under oath.

"I have been in contact with the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office for the perjury that was committed in this courtroom."

On Monday, Macdonald gave Lamarand 24 hours to accept an $8.1 million federal grant that would bring back dozens of laid off firefighters, but the mayor did not comply until Friday after firefighters agreed to $1.2 million in concessions by cashing in vacation and sick time during the two year grant period.

Why did Lamarand tell the judge he would accept the grant within 24 hours and then not do so?

"She put me under oath, but I don't recall asking me if I was going to comply with the order in 24 hours," he said.

"The key is ... that we're able to bring guys back to work and we're able to provide the safety for the citizens of Taylor and at a safer number for our guys working," said Glenn Ross from the Taylor Fire Department.

The mayor says under the grant, 32 firefighters will now get their jobs back, but he's not sure how soon that will happen.  Meanwhile, the city council president told us she's not sure they'll have anything to do.

"We're going to be hard pressed to find something for them to do every day, and that's unfortunate.  A court here not seeing our city, not examining our financial situation can't determine that," said Cheryl Burke.

It's been an ongoing political power struggle as the city grapples with a deficit elimination plan.  The mayor says he's just trying to be fiscally responsible.  A private company has taken over Taylor's EMS service.  The department also closed two fire stations and several council members have been at odds with the mayor for months.

"The mayor has put himself above the law, not only contempt, but perjury," said council member John Delo.  "I perfectly anticipate that perhaps the court will have provided him an impetuous to work with the council."

"They have no authority to order me to do something.  I don't work for city council.  I work for the people of Taylor," Lamarand said.

Expect more challenges and struggles to come.

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