DETROIT (AP) — Mayor Dave Bing, the Detroit City Council and a 10-person team reviewing Detroit's finances will receive details Tuesday of a proposed consent agreement that could keep the state from appointing an emergency manager for the financially troubled city.
After Detroit officials said Monday they had been contacted about a possible deal, a spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Snyder confirmed consent agreement language would be given to them.
"This has to be agreed to by the parties," said Geralyn Lasher, Snyder's communications director. "It's something the governor has been pushing for so many months now. The city has told us basically they will be out of cash in April or May, (so) the sooner the better in terms of getting these pieces in place."
The review team has spent more than a month looking through Detroit's books and has until March 27 to let Snyder know whether a financial emergency exists. Snyder could then appoint an emergency financial manager with the power to rip up and restructure collective bargaining agreements and remove the mayor and other elected leaders from office.
Bing has said Detroit faces a $197 million budget deficit. About 1,000 layoffs were planned for earlier this year, but the city still faces a cash-flow crisis. The mayor also had been concerned about payless paydays for city workers.
Kirk Lewis, the mayor's chief of staff, said Bing's office has had discussions about the content of the proposed consent agreement. The mayor's office would not reveal the language in the proposed agreement.
"The mayor believes the consent agreement the governor plans to present to the City Council ... should include a process based on accountability and transparency," Lewis said Monday afternoon in a statement.
The city has not been formally notified by the governor of any recommendations from the review team, Lewis added.
A consent agreement would allow Detroit to save face by preserving local authority, but it also would enable the state to take over if the city failed to comply with provisions on timely reporting of finances and following operations and recovery plans.
During an event in Detroit on Monday, Snyder said he would more aggressively push such a deal between Detroit and the state.
An emergency manager "is a possibility, but it isn't something I want to see happen. That would be a failure," the first-term Republican governor told business, government and community leaders during a morning forum at the Detroit Athletic Club.
U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Detroit, challenged the idea that a deal is a constructive substitute for naming a state emergency manager — a measure he has previously opposed as well.
"I strenuously object to the 'consent agreement' being proposed by Gov. Synder," Conyers said in a statement Monday night. "The agreement essentially asks the city to forfeit its citizens' rights in exchange for no tangible benefit."
Conyers said such a deal "fails to address the concerns" about the voting rights of Detroit residents and the collective bargaining rights of public employees.
The city is awaiting the ratification of union concessions, which are seen as key to helping the city get back on more solid financial footing. Bing all but ruled out the possibility that the city would be saddled with an emergency manager during his State of the City speech last week.
Snyder's and state Treasurer Andy Dillon's offices called individual council members Monday, Councilman Kwame Kenyatta told The Associated Press.
"We're supposed to receive something Tuesday ... information about a proposed consent agreement," Kenyatta said.
It is unclear what the language proposed by Snyder will say, Councilwoman Brenda Jones said.
Hopefully, "to let the Council do their jobs," she said.
- Detroit City Council
- Rick Snyder