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Mayor appoints Julianne Pastula Director of Administrative Hearings

2023
  • The Department of Appeals and Hearings plays critical role in City’s blight enforcement efforts
  • Pastula has been an attorney with the City’s Law Department since 2014 with experience in blight-related law

Today, Mayor Mike Duggan announced the appointment of Julianne Pastula as the City’s Director of Administrative Hearings. She replaces previous DAH Director, Miriam Blanks-Smart, who retired earlier this year.

Pastula, who was formerly Chief Legal Counsel of Operations and Chief of the FOIA Division of the City’s Law Department, has worked for the City of Detroit for eighteen years. While at the Law Department, Pastula drafted legislation to support the City’s blight remediation efforts, including amendments to City Code related to graffiti and property maintenance. Pastula also has extensive knowledge of City operations, the Detroit City Code and state law, civil/criminal infractions, and blight enforcement.

In her new role, Pastula, will help uphold the City’s quality of life efforts through management of blight violations and appeals of administrative decisions.

“Julianne is very passionate about addressing the issue of blight in the city and has helped shape city laws to support that,” said Mayor Duggan. “She’s also a very talented administrator who will help make sure that property owners who try to avoid paying blight tickets and bringing their properties up to code are held accountable.”

How DAH operates

When property owners are issued blight violations by City inspectors, tickets are processed by the Department of Appeals and Hearings. The DAH serves as a “blight court,” providing property owners due process, including the right to appeal a ticket if they already have addressed the issue or believe the ticket was improperly written. If the property owner is determined to have resolved the issue or to be not responsible for the issue, the DAH has authority to cancel the ticket.

The DAH has the authority to determine compliance with the City Code and uphold fines and penalties for non-compliance. The DAH also takes affirmative steps to collect on unpaid blight ticket fines and late fees, up to and including working through a collections agency to garnish wages and placing liens on properties.

“I am honored to serve the residents of the City as the next Director of the Department of Appeals and Hearings (DAH),” said Pastula. “As the City’s independent Administrative Hearings and Enforcement Bureau, the DAH has a direct impact on many quality-of-life issues in the City. I look forward to this opportunity to build on the strong foundation of DAH and continue its important work delivering services in a timely, efficient, and fair manner.”

Previously, Pastula also has served the City as General Counsel to the Board of Ethics, Liaison to the Detroit City Council, and as a Senior Assistant Corporation Counsel. Pastula has also served the State of Michigan from 2021 to early 2022 as General Counsel for the inaugural Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, which was the first citizen-led legislative seat redistricting in Michigan.

Director of Administrative Hearings, Julianne Pastula
Director of Administrative Hearings, Julianne Pastula