DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A state-appointed review team has been given up to 30 more days to determine if a financial emergency exists in Detroit, officials said Friday.
The team now has until March 28 to report its recommendations about whether Detroit should get an emergency manager, said Treasury Department spokesman Terry Stanton.
Gov. Rick Snyder appointed the review team in December to meet with city officials and pore over Detroit’s books.
“The team can continue to work cooperatively on solutions to the challenges facing Detroit,” said Snyder spokeswoman Sara Wurfel.
The city’s budget deficit is pegged at about $200 million and a cash-flow shortfall has been a concern.
In an effort to cut costs and stave off the appointment of an emergency manager, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has reached tentative agreements with police, firefighters and city unions on concessions. Those deals have yet to be ratified.
Members of Detroit City Council, last month, told WWJ Newsradio 950 that they were asked to meet in small groups with the team, in order to avoid violating Michigan’s Open Meetings Act. Members also said they had been asked not to discuss the contents of those meetings with the media. Some council members refused to attend.
An Ingham County Circuit Court judge ruled earlier this month in a civil lawsuit that the Detroit review team must hold its meetings in public or be in violation of the Open Meeting’s Act. The group’s first public meeting is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon in Detroit, Stanton said.
The lawsuit was filed by Robert Davis, a Highland Park school board. He said the Detroit review team violated the Open Meetings Act by meeting in “secret.” Davis filed a similar suit related to the appointment of an emergency manager in Highland Park schools.
Highland Park’s review team reconvened Wednesday in a public meeting, decided there was still a financial emergency and recommended that an emergency manager be appointed.
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