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The Detroit News

–New City Council President Charles Pugh disclosed Wednesday afternoon that he’s hired his stepmother to a $32,000 job as an aide.

Sonya Pugh, who was married to Pugh’s father from 1977-78, will serve as a constituent relations specialist in Pugh’s office, Pugh said in a statement explaining he announced the hire because he is committed to “open and transparent government.”

“My decision to have Ms. Pugh serve in my office was based on her years of experience in customer service and her compassion for the people of Detroit,” Pugh said in the statement. “I look forward to working with her as we address the concerns of Detroiters and work toward strengthening the partnership between city council and our citizens.”

Pugh, 38, was raised by his grandmother after his mother was murdered when he was 3 years old, and his father committed suicide four years later. A spokeswoman for Pugh didn’t immediately know this evening if Sonya Pugh was married to his father when he died.

Pugh’s campaign Web site said his “step-mother has played a huge role in my life.”

Hiring relatives has occasionally been an issue at City Hall. Former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was stung by the associations, as was former Councilwoman Monica Conyers.

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