DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit leaders visited Lansing on Tuesday to try to convince Gov. Rick Snyder to halt a plan for an emergency financial manager.
Chief Deputy Treasurer Mary MacDowell presided over the Monday morning hearing. She first heard testimony from the state-appointed review team that recommended a financial emergency be declared for the state’s largest city.
Review team representative Fredrick Headon said the financial condition and the city’s handling of the crisis was such that they could not justify allowing a second consent agreement when the city failed to comply with the first.
“Barely had the ink dried upon the stability agreement before city officials challenged in court the validity of the agreement,” Headon said. “And once those legal challenges were found to be without merit, city officials exhibited a notable lack of enthusiasm for implementing the terms of the stability agreement into which they’d entered.”
City leaders then had 20 minutes to make their appeal.
Detroit’s director of research and analysis David Whitaker said the state must stay the course, giving the city more time to straighten things out.
“The consent agreement, if given sufficient patience, takes us there. So it is our contention that patience be given and that we work as partners; not aborting the plan, that we knew would last years, after eight months, and expect miraculous change in eight months,” Whitaker said.
WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick said Detroit leaders made what they hope was a compelling case that the appointment of manager would be premature.
“The city says, look it: We’re on a path to solve our problems with state cooperation. Let’s work out this consent agreement, let’s go forward — we don’t need an emergency manager,” Skubick said, adding that the last-minute appeal is clearly a long-shot for the city.
MacDowell will consider the arguments and report back to Gov. Snyder.
Skubick said Snyder has not yet made a final decision to appoint an emergency manager, although he has a candidate in mind.
“But, until he pulls that trigger, he will first look at the data collected in this hearing today. My guess is it could take a day or so for him to do that, then he will conclude,” Skubick said.
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has said he does not support the city’s appeal and plans to work with an EFM, when or if one is appointed.
Detroit is billions of dollars in debt and has a budget deficit topping $300 million. It also has long-term debt topping $14 billion and has had trouble in recent months making payroll and paying other bills.