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Controversy Continues Around Redford Township Business

Liaison
By: Avery Zimmerman

Wayne State University

Com 2100, March 18, 2019

Redford Township officials are still amending the contract that gives the township

ombudsman tasked with bringing new businesses to the community a nearly doubled salary,

igniting controversy between officials on Feb. 26.

“People influence politics,” said former Redford Police officer Duane Gregg, during the

citizen comments. “For no reason but for personal gain.”

To add to the controversy, Gregg said that only one of the officials voting on the contract

had a copy of it.

“I was surprised that no one else on the board had a copy of the contract,” said Garth

Christie, the township clerk. “For over 18 years, it’s been the policy that never am I the only one

to get anything. That’s the way it’s always happened, but it didn’t this time and I cannot explain

why.”

The board voted to increase the pay of Steve DiMaggio, the township ombudsman, from

$30,000 a year to $52,000 at the a board meeting on Jan. 22, 2019, according to the board’s

meeting minutes.

The board voted to continue amending the contract on Feb. 26, 2019 by planning a

meeting between the township attorney, trustee Linda Jackson, and the ombudsman.
The reactions of citizens and officials have been mixed following the news of

DiMaggio’s increased salary.

“I’m opening up a second location of my business in Redford thanks to Steve,” said Lisa

Zhang. “I was looking for a building and he helped me find one.”

“I don’t think the pay increase was too far-fetched,” said former Redford resident Kathy

Tarr. “You’re not going to find somebody else that’s going to come in and do what he’s been

doing and continues to do.”

“DiMaggio has no qualifications,” said trustee Kim Taylor. “He has no economic

development degree or marketing degree. He only has his so-called connections.”

“You see all these different people showing up to back him, but no one has been able to

prove how many businesses he actually brought into the township,” said Cecilia Gallagher,

resident of Redford.

“I didn’t even know this position existed, let alone that we’re thinking of paying him

$52,000 a year,” said Sean Harkin, resident of Redford. “This is my first board meeting, it really

shows how disconnected the local government is with the residents.”

DiMaggio’s job as ombudsman is to lure new businesses to the Redford community and

to act as a liaison between local businesses and elected officials, according to trustee Taylor.

The initial decision to appoint DiMaggio to the position back in 2014 was met with

controversy as well. The $30,000 original salary was hard to find in the budget, when the

Township needed new police vehicles and town hall offices need repairs, said Township

Supervisor Tracey Kobylarz according to minutes from a meeting on Oct. 14, 2014.
“I really hope that Redford starts listening to citizen comments,” says Harkin. “Bringing

businesses to Redford is important, but not as important as making sure we have a big enough

budget to ensure that the citizens of Redford are taken care of.”

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Source List:

Kim Taylor, ktaylor@redfordtwp.com: Taylor provided her comments on Steve DiMaggio at the
Redford Board of Trustees meeting on Feb. 26, 2019.

Redford Township Meeting Minutes, https://redfordtwpmi.documents-on-demand.com/: Quotes


and information from past Board of Trustee meetings was from the documents uploaded onto
Redford’s website.

Duane Gregg: Gregg expressed his opinions during the citizen comments portion of the Board of
Trustees meeting on Feb. 26, 2019.

Garth Christie, clerk@redfordtwp.com: Christie provided his comments during the Redford
Board of Trustees meeting on Feb. 26, 2019.

Tracey Kobylarz, supervisor@redfordtwp.com: Kobylarz’s comments were taken from past


Board meeting minutes. She is currently recovering from her serious car accident and was not at
the meeting on Feb. 26.

Lisa Zhang: provided her support for DiMaggio during the Board of Trustees meeting on Feb.
26.

Kathy Tarr: provided her support for DiMaggio during the Board of Trustees meeting on Feb.
26.

Cecelia Gallagher, 313-613-7463: Gallagher provided her comments in an interview on March


16, 2019.

Sean Harkin, 313-829-7179: Harkin provided his comments in an in person interview on Feb. 26,
2019.

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