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Lansing city council takes up a veto

May 17, 2015

The Lansing city council will have to muster six votes to override a mayoral veto when it meets Monday night.

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Mayor Virg Bernero issued a veto a few days after the city council passed the city budget for the next fiscal year.

The veto applies to the council’s decision to spend $200,000 to hire an independent firm to audit the Lansing Board of Water & Light.  

Bernero would prefer to hire an inspector general to monitor BWL and report to his office.

BWL has been under the microscope since a 2013 ice storm. The storm knocked out power to more than 40% of BWL customers.  Thousands had to wait more than a week to get their power restored.

BWL’s handling of the power restoration was heavily criticized. The utility was forced to make many management and operational changes. Eventually, the BWL board fired the utility’s executive director.

Mayor Bernero wants more changes that would give his office more oversight of the utility.

But city council members say hiring an independent firm to audit BWL’s operations will accomplish the same thing.

The city council will need six votes to override Bernero’s veto.  

The council voted 7 to 1 last Monday to hire the independent audit firm last Monday.  But two city council members are scheduled to miss the veto override vote. However, the six scheduled to attend all voted for the independent audit.