By ZEINAB NAJM
HEIGHTS — Gary Miotke is officially back in his capacity as corporation counsel for the city after he was unanimously confirmed by the City Council.
He will serve to Jan. 2, 2022, allowing for the next elected mayor to either bring back Miotke as city attorney or suggest someone new.
Mayor Bill Bazzi brought forward the appointment of Miotke on the Feb. 9 council meeting agenda. After the motion was made, Councilman Dave Abdallah said that over the past few years the council has bought up possible consideration of other attorneys.
He also said that he has had a good working relationship with Miotke and that if other options were to be considered Miotke should be one.
On Nov. 24, the council declined to approve the reappointment of Miotke with a 5-1 vote. Instead the council voted to have then Mayor Daniel Paletko seek other cooperation counsel, including Miotke.
Abdallah suggested that Miotke be appointed until the June 30, 2021 date that was listed in the maintenance of services agreement.
Councilman Ray Muscat said he agreed with Abdallah about other options but with everything currently being new with the mayor and two council members, having someone familiar to get through the election cycle would be best for the city.
At the same meeting, Councilman Zouher Abdel-Hak said he also agreed with Abdallah when it came to wanting new names and that Miotke should serve through June 30 when Bazzi could bring new possible options in front of the council.
Councilman Mo Baydoun initially agreed with Abdel-Hak and Abdallah about reappointing Miotke until June and seeing other candidates until he heard Bazzi speak about Miotke’s work for the city.
Bazzi said Miotke has been very helpful and represented the city well as a resident himself. Abdallah also asked Bazzi why he was in support of Miotke now, compared to before.
“For the last week we’ve had several meetings here, and there are a lot of issues and concerns coming through the city, and Miotke has been — even through he wasn’t paid before today he’s been volunteering his time and still committed to the city — representing us,” Bazzi said. “Especially right now with the pandemic and recent passing of the mayor we urgently need an attorney especially someone who knows about the current city matters without delaying anything.”
Before the vote was made, Miotke said, “I am very pleased to be able to continue to serve if I’m appointed or my appointment is confirmed. I think Mayor Bazzi and I have worked very well together, I look forward to continuing to be able to do so and help the city.”
The council then unanimously approved fees for Miotke from July 2020 to December 2020 at the price of $61,725 while he continued to work for the city even though it was not in officially capacity.
A total of $75,000 was listed in the agreement for the $61,000 in fees and another $13,275 for the outstanding attorney fees that have yet to be paid through Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority related to lawsuits.
Prior to the vote, Abdel-Hak asked Miotke if he could knock off $10,000 from the $75,000 total in which Miotke responded, saying the difficulty is that his bills have already been cut and even with maintenance of services agreement, essentially they been very cut back.
“I would not be inclined, I’m sorry to cut $10,000 off and find myself in a position where I would have a difficulty — being able to cover my own bills,” Miotke said. “Going six months without getting paid is quite the sacrifice and no interest being charged or anything else. It’s not been an easy time to deal with not getting paid for six months so.”
Miotke agreed to reduce the $75,000 total in the maintenance of services agreement to $61,725 instead. He was thanked by Abdel-Hak and other council members for doing so.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])