James R. Fouts
|James "Jim" Richard Fouts|
|7th Mayor of Warren, Michigan|
November 9, 2007
|Preceded by||Mark Steenbergh|
August 8, 1942 |
Hazel Park, MI
|Alma mater||Central Michigan University|
|Profession||Educator (Retired), City council member, mayor|
Fouts grew up in Hazel Park, Michigan where his father was the city assessor then city manager. He spent his career as a government and psychology teacher in the Warren Consolidated School District. His last approximately ten years of teaching were at Sterling Heights High School.
Early political career
In 1976, Fouts ran as a Republican for the Michigan state house of representatives in the 70th District. He was elected to the Warren City Council in 1981 where he served for 26 years. During his tenure, he had initiated several anti-tobacco proposals.
In 2007 Mark Steenbergh had reached the term limit as mayor of Warren and did not seek re-election. Fouts ran against City Clerk Richard Sulaka for the open seat and won, 62% to 38%. In the 2007 campaign, finance reports show that Sulaka outspent Fouts $332,000 to $225,000. Sulaka described Fouts as a “maverick” and attributed his victory to voters seeking an alternative to the previous administration. The election also saw Warren citizens electing a new clerk, new treasurer and a majority of new council members.
Mayor of Warren
His enforcement of local building codes led to the demolition of dilapidated buildings and the promotion of neighborhood "clean sweeps" by city inspectors and was touted as a model for other mayors.
In response to the challenges facing the automotive industry, an industry which employs many Warren residents, he initiated a "Buy American Products" policy for automotive purchases by heads of city departments.
His 2011 re-election campaign was endorsed by the Detroit Free Press who said the campaign had become "way too focused on legal battles over Fouts' age" which became an issue when his opponents filed suit to remove him from the ballot because he had refused to place his age on the candidacy form. He won the lawsuit and the election with more than 80% of the vote against City Councilwoman Kathy Vogt.
In 2012 he acted to ban smoking within 100 feet of any city building without legislative approval, but the court said he did not have the authority, and had the No Smoking signs removed. Fouts brought the measure back to the city council, after they had tabled it in September.
Chad Selweski, a Macomb Daily political columnist, writes that during Fouts' State of the City Addresses, "the mayor's ego cannot be held in check. Over the past two years, he has criticized the governor, the judiciary, the attorney general, fellow mayors, and surrounding cities in general. "
In December 2013, the city settled a whistleblower case for $175,000 in which a former staffer had brought charges that he had been demoted for making recordings that showed Fouts speaking in a threatening manner. The city also paid $47,613 for two private attorneys to defend Fouts. Criminal charges against Fouts had been dropped in May because Fouts's statements " violated no statute and do not form a criminal act under Michigan law."
In July 2014, Fouts denied access to the Warren City hall for a group seeking to establish a Reason Booth, in contrast to a long-established Prayer Booth. The American Civil Liberties Union, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, have sued Fouts and Warren, alleging a violation of First Amendment rights to free speech and a violation of the Establishment Clause. The lawsuit was filed by Douglas Marshall in the United States District Court.
In August 2014 Fouts initiated a suit against the passing of 2014 Proposal 1, which eliminated the Michigan Personal Property Tax for businesses, replacing it with an Internet sales tax, alleging the ballot wording was biased. Fouts was criticized by Warren Councilman Scott Stevens for using city resources to support his private lawsuit against Proposal 1.
- Frank DeFrank; MDN staff (11/07/07). "Fouts in a rout". The Macomb Daily. Retrieved 2 February 2014. Check date values in:
- Fouts’ License Expires, Check Reveals Age Question, Warren Weekly, August 23, 2011
- "City of Warren, MI - Mayor's Office". City of Warren. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
- Mich. Suburb Tries to Woo GM to Leave Detroit. washingtonpost.com. Retrieved on 2011-05-26.
- Fouts, James R. Political Graveyard. Retrieved on 2013-04-10.
- Norb Franz (09/24/12). "Warren to revisit proposed smoking ban outside city buildings". Daily Tribune News. Retrieved 2 February 2014. Check date values in:
- Mayor's Accomplishments, City of Warren official web site. Retrieved on 2013-04-06
- Christina Hall (May 16, 2013). "Warren's crackdown on blight seen as model for other communities". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
- Buy American or Get Out?, AOL Autos in the New York Times, September 12, 2008. Retrieved on 2013-04-06
- "Editorial: Warren Mayor Fouts has led city well, deserves re-election". Detroit Free Press. October 28, 2011. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
- Associated Press (06/09/2011). "Appeals court rules Fouts doesn't have to disclose his age to be on ballot". 7 ABC Action News. Retrieved 2 February 2014. Check date values in:
- Macomb County election results: Jim Fouts' win for the ages, Warren Council President out, MLive, November 09, 2011
- Chad Selweski (2013-04-28). "SELWESKI: Strange ways catch up with Warren Mayor Jim Fouts". The Oakland Press. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
- Chad Selweski (2013-12-28). "Macomb County’s Top 10 news stories for 2013". Retrieved 2 February 2014.
- Norb Franz (5/3/13). "No charges against Warren Mayor James Fouts". Macomb Daily News. Retrieved 2 February 2014. Check date values in:
- "Warren sued for refusing anti-religion display at city hall". Detroit News. 2014-07-23. Retrieved 2014-07-29.
- Detroit News, Aug. 7, 2014
- "Macomb Daily", Sep. 5, 2013