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Conyers Resigns Following Guilty Plea

Convicted Detroit City Council President Pro Tem Monica Conyers resigned on Monday, three days after pleading guilty to federal bribery charges.

A member of Conyers' staff submitted the two-sentence resignation letter Monday to Deputy City Clerk Vivian Hudson. Her resignation is effective July 6.

Conyers pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court to a felony charge of accepting a bribe in exchange for a yes vote on the $1.2 billion Synagro Technologies sewage sludge recycling contract and other unspecified actions while a member of one of the city's pension boards. Her resignation ends perhaps the most turbulent tenure for a council member in memory.

The resignation also came after a morning where pressure mounted heavily on Conyers, wife of U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., to resign. Early Monday, six of the council's other eight members said at a news conference they would pursue forfeiture proceedings under the City Charter to oust her if she did not quit. And then state Attorney General Mike Cox announced he would take action Tuesday to oust Conyers by enforcing state law that says any office becomes vacant upon the officer's "conviction of any infamous crime, or of any offense involving a violation of his oath of office."

Council sergeants removed Conyers' photo from the hallway leading to council chambers and moved each of the other council members' photos one slot to the right.

Conyers' memorandum to Janice M. Winfrey, City Clerk reads:

"Effective, Monday, July 6, 2009, I hereby resign from my position as Council President Pro-Tempore of the Detroit City Council. My staff will be available until December 31, 2009 to assist in the offices of my colleagues."

Council President Ken Cockrel Jr., who spoke with Conyers on Sunday, issued a statement saying Conyers' resignation marks "the end of another sad chapter in Detroit's history." At the news conference, Cockrel said Conyers had said she wanted more time to consider her options before resigning.

"I am glad she did the right thing and resigned from the Detroit City Council," said Cockrel said in a statement. "Now we, as a council and a city, can move on and forward in focusing on the vital issues our city faces - and we will.

Councilwoman JoAnn Watson, who once worked for Rep. John Conyers, called Monica Conyers' resignation "tragic."

"It's very sad for the city and for everyone involved," she said.

Councilwoman Sheila Cockrel called Conyers' resignation "the best solution" and said it saves taxpayers money that would have been spent on ousting her.

"It's the best thing for Detroit," she said.

Cockrel said she considers Conyers to already to be an ex-council member based on her guilty plea on Friday and dismissed Conyers' July 6 resignation date.

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