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New allegations about Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick raise questions for all cities

Do you live in a city?  A township?  A county?  Do you know how each level of government handles the award of contracts and do you know how available that information is to the public which pays the bills?

A case in point: In today's Detroit Free Press Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick faces allegations that he gave special help and advance knowledge of contracts to be bid to a crony.  This friend did millions of dollars of business with the city.

The charge is based on text messages between the friend, the mayor and the then mayor's chief of staff. 

This makes me wonder about the contract award process for other cities, including my own.  I have no reason to believe there's anything dishonest going on, but if there's not a local newspaper like the Free Press to keep city officials accountable, then who's left to oversee the process?

Who's looking out for the public interest?

In Detroit, where was the City Council?