DPS Emergency Manager Roy Roberts appointment could be declared invalid; as Highland Park resident files lawsuit

Photo Credit-ROJS News
DPS EM Roy Roberts & Gov. Rick Snyder
(Left) is facing a lawsuit filed by
Michigan resident Robert Davis (right)
over the timing of Robert’s required
Oath of Office.
Taking the fight against Public Act #4 right to Detroit Public Schools’ (DPS) Emergency Manager (EM) Roy Roberts backyard, Robert Davis, 31, a staffer for the AFSCME Council 25 filed a lawsuit on Monday September 19th, calling for removal of EM Roberts, for failure to take a required oath of office prior to starting work in the position.

Davis has a history of measure of success with a lawsuit filed in 2008, with the oath of technicality, leading to a removal of an elected school board member from Highland Park Public School District.

In 2008, Davis sued Marilyn Wheeler, alleging that she did not file an acceptance of office form as required by law. The Wayne County Circuit Court agreed that she violated the law and ordered her removed from office. Within days of her removal, the school board appointed her to the seat, but she took the oath of office five days after participating in a school board meeting.

Davis sued again to remove her, claiming her reappointment was illegal and lost the case. However, Conservative lending Michigan Supreme Court Justice Robert Young wrote an opinion Wheeler’s school board position should have been “vacated” due to her participation in board activities prior to a sword oath of office.

Wheeler eventually was ousted from the board for failure to reside in the school district.


Although Gov. Rick Snyder (R) appointed Roberts to run DPS in May, filed paperwork with the Michigan Secretary of State Roberts only took the oath of office in August 2011. If the lawsuit by Davis is upheld, not only EM Roberts could be removed but every decision he’s made since his May 2011 appointment by Gov. Snyder would be reversed. 

“I am a strong unionist and to see individuals who do not make a lot of money have their lives jeopardized by decisions one individual makes is quite troublesome to me,” he said to the Detroit Free Press. 

“If the emergency manager is going to hold employees accountable, he should be held accountable,” he noted.

Davis said the union is not funding the lawsuit.

Since appointed by Gov. Snyder, E.M. Roberts has imposed at 10% cut on all DPS employees except ones earning less than $8 an hour. As DPS Emergency Manager, its’ estimated that Robert’s earns $250,000 per year. 

Recently, Roberts purchased a $40,000 SUV on district tax payer funds for his Emergency Manager duties, despite the deep fiscal problems at DPS.

In a confusing statement to the Detroit Free Press, Steve Wasko, spokesman for DPS stated Davis has no case; while refusing to address why it took EM Robert’s from May to August 2011 to take a simple Oath of Office.

“Mr. Roberts has signed a valid Oath of Office to perform his duties as DPS emergency manager. He has also had a signed a contract since he started,” Wasko said.

Detroit Public Schools along with the cities of Pontiac, Benton Harbor and Ecorse haveEmergency Managers appointed to all functions of fiscal and operational management, for the entities.

Roberts, as a Gov. Snyder appointed Emergency Manager, has authority over all DPS operations including academics. Operating under Public Act #4, which is facing a state constitutional legal challenge itself on behalf of the Sugar Law Center out of Lansing, Roberts could dismiss the school board, whom now operates in advocacy, void union contracts and sell off public schools to private corporations.

Davis lawsuit highlights a series of questionable leadership moves on, leading to lawsuits, a Constitutional Referendum petition campaign and calls to recall Gov. Rick Snyder during in his nine months in office

Additionally, up to 29 Republican state House and Senate Representatives face recalls and/or clarity hearings to start circulation of recall petitions.
  • Michigan Forward, a non-profit grassroots organization out of Lansing, has organized a Constitutional Referendum campaign, to collect up t0 161,000 signatures to place a vote on a future ballot for Michigan citizens can vote up or down Public Act #4. CEO of Michigan Forward Brandon Jessup explained his groups’ efforts on a September 4th Reach Out Job Search Radio weekly podcast.
  •  A future lawsuit is expected to be filed by the Michigan Educational Association and the American Federation of Teacher on behalf of a HB-4929, known as the “Right to Teach” bill. Passed by the Michigan GOP lead House last week, by a close 55-53 vote, the bill now heads to the state Senate where Republicans hold a 26-12 super-majority. Gov. Snyder has not yet guaranteed his signature if the bill passes the state Senate.
  •  A first recall vote statewide was approved by the Michigan Secretary of State and is scheduled for Tuesday, November 1, 2011 recall vote for state House Rep. Paul Scott (R-Grand Blanc), after Michigan Educational Association backed effort achieved over 25,000 valid registered voter signatures.

A court date on the Davis lawsuit hasn’t been set.

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