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Lansing mayor says city council in "denial" after veto override vote

May 18, 2015

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero says the city council is “flirting with disaster."

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The council voted tonight to override Bernero’s veto of a change the council made to his city budget plan. 

The council rejected the mayor’s desire to hire an inspector general to oversee Lansing’s utility. 

The Lansing Board of Water & Light’s management has been under increased pressure since its mishandling of an ice storm in 2013 that knocked out power to 40% of its customers.

The council decided it would rather spend the $200,000 the mayor budgeted for an inspector general to instead hire an outside audit firm. 

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

“The City Council is in denial,” Mayor Bernero said in a written statement after the unanimous city council vote. "The 2013 BWL ice storm debacle was brought about not by one man, but by an archaic and ineffective governance model that fails to ensure sound management and accountability of the city’s most valuable asset. The system is broken and needs to be fixed.”

Meanwhile, the Lansing Board of Water and Light’s governing board may have reached a deal with the utility’s former general manager.

Former BWL GM J. Peter Lark
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The board will meet Tuesday to consider a settlement with J. Peter Lark.

The former GM was fired after the utility was heavily criticized for its handling of a massive ice storm in 2013.

The BWL board fired Lark six months after a giving him a positive job performance review.