DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – The mayor’s office and firefighters’ union have agreed to a tentative deal on concessions aimed at cutting the city’s budget deficit and keeping Detroit’s finances out of the hands of a state-appointed emergency manager.
Mayor Dave Bing’s office said Saturday in a release that the agreement still must be ratified by the 1,014 members of the Detroit Fire Fighters Association.
“This tentative agreement achieved necessary cost-savings through staffing and operational improvements without compromising public safety … In addition to this tentative agreement, I am especially pleased with the union’s efforts in resolving long-standing arbitration issues,” said Bing.
The deal was reached Friday night. Details were not released. Bing had been seeking concessions on pensions and health care.
“We’re not going to enter into any agreement that doesn’t at least meet the litmus test of what the governor’s looking for to keep an emergency manger out of the city,” said Dan McNamara, president of DFFA Local 344.
“These negotiations have been very dire, but we’ve done our best to meet the challenge,” said McNamara.
Bing is under pressure to stabilize the city’s finances in order to avoid a state takeover and the appointment of an emergency manager. A state review team is combing the city’s books and will report its findings to Gov. Rick Snyder.
The city’s budget deficit is pegged at about $200 million, and Bing has voiced concerns over a possible cash-flow shortfall.
Last month, he released an 18-month plan that calls for $102 million in savings through June and $258 million over the 2013 fiscal year, but those hinge on how far he gets with the unions and the city’s 11,000 employees.
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