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Lansing Councilman Betz to regain committee assignments after being censured last year

Lansing City Council Member Brandon Betz
Brandon Betz
City of Lansing
Lansing City Council Member Brandon Betz

Lansing City Council Member Brandon Betz is set to regain committee assignments after being stripped of those duties last year as a show of disapproval from his colleagues.

Betz came under fire last February after the Ward 1 representative sent profane and combative textsto a Black Lives Matter activist during an argument.

In response, the rest of the council passed a non-binding resolution that condemned Betz's "inflammatory" behavior and asked Council's then-President Peter Spadafore to remove Betz from committees, which Spadafore did for the rest of 2021.

But Council Member Adam Hussain now has the power to set committees in 2022 as the council's newly appointed president. Hussain joined his colleagues in censuring Betz in 2021, but says it's time for Betz to resume committee work.

"I don't believe at that time anybody intended that for that to be permanent," Hussain said.

He plans to release committee assignments Monday that include Betz.

“We have heard loud and clear from the 1st Ward that without a council member on committees that, in many ways, they feel either unrepresented or under-represented," Hussain said. "We certainly look forward to all eight of us continuing to work together this year.”

After being censured, Betz drew criticism for continuing to collect a council salary, which was set at $26,356 in 2021, despite not serving on the committees that influence ordinances in their earliest stages. He did not resign his northeast Lansing seat although the council's resolution asked him to "strongly" consider doing so.

In June, the city’s ethics board determined Betz’s texts were unprofessional but did not violate Lansing ordinances.

Betz has two years left in a four-year term, but a group of residents is trying to unseat him via a recall election as early as this year.

Sarah Lehr is a state government reporter for Wisconsin Public Radio.
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