Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced recently that he plans to appoint an emergency manager for Detroit. The city has a $327 million deficit and owes $14 billion, says the Associated Press. Detroit entered into a consent agreement with the state after treasurer reports found soaring deficits and debts. Detroit's City Council had the option to appeal the governor's decision, which they decided to take. Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said on Wednesday that he won't join in the appeal, reports the Detroit News. The mayor had the choice to join the City Council appeal or file his own. Bing said though he opposes emergency management, he sees no way to circumvent it. City Council members say that won't affect their decision.
Detroit City Council Votes to Appeal EM
Earlier Wednesday, the City Council had approved a request for a hearing on emergency management. The resolution passed with a 7-1 vote. President Pro Tem Gary Brown was the no-vote, and member Kwame Kenyatta, who typically opposes state intervention, was absent. Bing told council members Kenneth Cockrel Jr. and Gary Brown his decision just minutes before a press conference. Detroit councilman James Tate told the Detroit News that the council would see the appeal through whether the mayor was on board or not. Tate expressed disappointment in Bing's position, saying it fed into the state stance that the mayor and council can't handle their own problems. Council President Charles Pugh said they'll keep trying every option available to avoid an emergency manager. The appeal hearing is set for Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the Richard Austin Building in Lansing, says the Detroit Free Press.
Council Asks Governor to Postpone Appointment
The Detroit News says the City Council also approved a move to request that Gov. Snyder delay acting until the new emergency manager law, Public Act 436, goes into effect on March 28. Under that law, the city can choose between mediation, Chapter 9 (municipal) bankruptcy, consent agreement, or emergency management.
Anti-Emergency Manager Protesters Rally
Over 100 opponents of emergency management attended a rally led by council members JoAnn Watson and Brenda Jones. Protesters marched outside City Hall on Wednesday. The two councilwomen who orchestrated the rally have consistently opposed the current consent agreement. They disfavor the emergency manager concept en bloc. The rally included speakers, drumming, and songs. Speakers, including local clergymen, said an emergency financial manager, with his sweeping, dictatorial powers, would take away citizen voting rights. The Associated Press says emergency managers may change financial plans, renegotiate labor contracts, revise budgets, sell city assets, suspend elected officials' salaries, and cut services. Jones likened the appointment of an emergency manager to a regression to the 1950s, reports the Detroit News.
A Michigan native, Marilisa Sachteleben writes about issues and events in her state's most pivotal city of Detroit.