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Hold your applause

In case you didn’t notice, News Hits isn’t big on bravos, backslaps or kudos. In fact, it would be out of character for us not to say, “it’s about time” to the Detroit City Council for voting to put a little enforcement muscle behind its woefully weak Living Wage Ordinance. But we decided to lighten up on the nine-member body and instead say, “better late than never.”

During budget talks last week, the council agreed to fund two Purchasing Department staff positions — to the tune of $70,000 — which are designed to monitor contract compliance with the Living Wage Ordinance. The city statute — which Detroit voters overwhelmingly approved in 1998 — requires companies doing $50,000 or more in business with the city to pay their employees $8.83 an hour plus health benefits and $11.03 if no health benefits are provided. There have been complaints for more than two years that some companies are not complying with the law — and that the city has done little about it.

Perhaps the two new staffers will be able to wring a little change out of these companies. But that all hangs on whether Mayor Dennis Archer approves the council’s proposed budget, which was finalized last week. Depending on which way Archer goes, News Hits may give the council a full-fledged pat on the back or the mayor a smack on the bottom.

Ann Mullen contributed to News Hits, which is edited by Curt Guyette. He can be reached at 313-202-8004 or