kathie dunbar

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Michigan Secretary of State’s office is investigating allegations that Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero’s re-election campaign may have violated state election law by funneling money to a city council candidate.

State law (Section 44 of the Michigan Campaign Finance Act) forbids paying individuals money with the understanding that the money will be donated to a political campaign.   That’s what a complaint filed with the state claims the Bernero re-election campaign did back in June.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

It took a marathon session Monday night, but the Lansing city council finally has a new council president.   

The eight-member council is evenly divided into two factions. But after four hours of  closed door talks, Councilman Brian Jeffries emerged as the next Lansing city council president. Councilwoman Kathie Dunbar agreed to drop her bid for the president's gavel, after receiving assurances that she will have support for council president next year.

After the council voted to confirm him as president, Jeffries admitted the process did take a toll.

“Tonight was something we had to work through. I think we did….we got to a place where everyone felt comfortable…and I think we can go from there," said Jeffries.  

Jeffries admits work on the city budget may test the Lansing city council’s strained relations. Lansing may face a $12 to 15 million budget deficit next year.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A sharp division among Lansing city council members kept the council from taking its first required step this year during a meeting today.   The division threatens to keep the capital city’s governing body from functioning.

The Lansing city council is so divded it can’t even agree on who should chair its’ meetings.   The council talked for nearly 90 minutes, mainly in sometimes animated one on one discussions, and still deadlocked 4 to 4 over who should be the council president. 

The sharp divide has defined the Lansing city council for years.  

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

There’s mixed news today concerning the city of Lansing’s budget crisis.  City leaders have been trying to figure out how to deal with a projected 20 million dollar budget deficit.   

 N0w, city council vice president Kathie Dunbar says the city learned this week that its employee health care costs will rise 2 million dollars higher than expected next year. 

She says fortunately the state legislature has passed a budget plan that should guarantee the city 4 million dollars in state revenue sharing funds.