Detroit Charter

The Detroit Charter and City Government


Annotations By: Jacqueline Bejma


We, the people of Detroit, do ordain and establish this Charter for the governance of our City, as it addresses the needs of all citizens and affirms our commitment to the development and welfare of our youth, our most precious treasure; instituting programs, services and activities addressing the needs of our community; fostering an environment and government structure whereby sound public policy objectives and decisions reflect citizen participation and collective desires; pledging that all our officials, elected and appointed, will be held accountable to fulfill the intent of this Charter and hold sacred the public trust; acknowledging our blessings from God, we pray our efforts will be accepted.


  1. Detroit City government is a service institution that recognizes its subordination to the people of Detroit.

    The City shall provide for the public peace, health and safety of persons and property within its jurisdictional limits.

    The people have a right to expect aggressive action by the City's officers in seeking to advance, conserve, maintain and protect the integrity of the human, physical and natural resources of this city from encroachment and/or dismantlement.

    The people have a right to expect city government to provide for its residents, decent housing; job opportunities; reliable, convenient and comfortable transportation; recreational facilities and activities; cultural enrichment, including libraries and art and historical museums; clean air and waterways, safe drinking water and a sanitary, environmentally sound city.
  2. The City has an affirmative duty to secure the equal protection of the law for each person and to insure equality of opportunity for all persons. No person shall be denied the enjoyment of civil or political rights or be discriminated against in the exercise thereof because of race, color, creed, national origin, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity.
  3. A person shall have reasonable access to all files and records of the City in accordance with applicable laws.
  4. The people have a right to know the rules and regulations governing dealings between the City and the public and to a means for the review of administrative decisions.
  5. The City's police forces are in all cases and at all times in strict subordination to the civil power.
  6. The City shall endeavor to require application of the principle of one person-one vote to the policymaking body of any regional or other multi-jurisdictional organization which taxes or provides any service to City residents or takes any action affecting the City's interests.
  7. The enumeration of certain rights in this Charter shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
  8. The City may enforce this declaration of rights and other rights retained by the people.