An abbreviated version of prior oaths was used, and the version used omitted any reference to the City of Troy and any pledge to uphold the City Charter.
It also omitted the phrase, "...so help me God."
It was the first time in anyone's recent memory that this had been done. The oath, typically administered by the City Clerk, was given by Judge Michael Warren.
Judge Warren created "Patriot Week" and often speaks at area Tea Party events.
As a result of this obvious change-up in proceedings, the social media world, phone lines and e-mail circuits have been jammed with speculation as to WHY our new mayor would make such radical changes. So, I went straight to the horse's mouth to find out.
Here is what I asked our mayor and new council:
I have a question regarding the oath that was taken Monday night, and rather than continue to add to the speculation swirling about I'm coming to this body. Why was any mention of the City of Troy left off the oath? And why was the oath different from those taken by previous councils/mayors? Any insight to this would be very helpful.
Mayor Daniels answered quickly:
In response to your question, elected officials are only bound to take an Oath to the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State in which they will serve. This is stated in Article XI Public Officers and Employment, Section 1 of the Constitution of the State of Michigan. City Attorney Lori Bluhm was fully briefed and concurred with my decision to limit my Oath to the constitutional requirement. Thank you so much for your interest and concern for our City.
Do you see an answer to my question there?
Nor did I. So I pressed again by asking:
I do understand the LEGALITY of the issue and that your chosen version of the oath was within the bounds of law. However, my question was to the omission of any mention of the City of Troy and our city charter. Why, specifically, was that left off? Ms. Bluhm could also then speak to whether or not you are still bound by the charter and obligated to uphold it.
Ms. Daniels' next response:
One example comes to my mind. Section 3.8.5 of the Troy City Charter states that the Mayor will send an annual proclamation to the U.S. Congress encouraging them to pass a constitutional amendment in favor of term limits upon themselves. I don't agree with term limits. I think they are unconstitutional and so I would have a problem sending in such a proclamation. The best term limits are an informed citizenry who will vote out perceived bad leadership.
I read this over very carefully several times. It seemed a natural conclusion TO ME that Ms. Daniels was saying that she didn't mention the city or the charter on personal principle -- because she didn't agree, she wouldn't pledge to agree. So I responded:
I thank you for your interesting response. I will, as I said, await Ms. Bluhm's legal opinion on whether you are required to uphold our city charter. But can I assume from your answer that you do not intend to follow the aspects of the city charter with which you do not personally agree?
Next I received word from Ms. Bluhm, our City Attorney:
... any city official not compliant with our charter could face misconduct in office charges.
And, finally, hours later, Ms. Daniels's response...
Your assumptions are not accurate. The Constitution of the State of Michigan binds me to the city charter subject to the constitution and all laws. See Article VII, Section 22
So...there you have it. No matter Ms. Daniels's personal ideology, rest assured. She is OBLIGATED (and apparently has been briefed with the law) to uphold our charter whether or not she agrees with it. She is bound by the Constitution of the State of Michigan.
And we'll be holding her to it...so help us God.