HAMTRAMCK (WWJ/AP) – A former Detroit Public Works chief under ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and city administrator for Pontiac has been hired as emergency manager of Hamtramck.
Gov. Rick Snyder on Wednesday announced Cathy Square’s appointment to the 2.1-square-mile Detroit enclave, which has about 22,000 people.
“I’m excited to get started so that I can get in there and get out and return the city back to local control. My goal is to identify the problems and make the corrections there and really formulate a plan and work that plan,” Square told WWJ.
On June 3, Snyder determined there was a financial emergency in Hamtramck. Its general fund balance slipped from $2.7 million in 2011 to a negative $582,000 a year later.
Square said she will follow a straightforward plan to get the city’s finances back on track.
“I intend on using the basic fundamentals of restructuring which are simply maximizing revenues, cutting expenses, selling assets and renegotiating debt,” she said.
Snyder said Square’s “extensive municipal government experience … makes her well-suited to assume the duties of emergency manager for Hamtramck.”
Square has been the Pontiac city administrator and director of the city’s Human Resources and Public Works departments since 2011. Prior to that, she was an infrastructure consultant for the city of Highland Park, and spent several years as a manager in Detroit’s Public Works Department.
As chief operating officer, Square was responsible for the supervision of day-to-day operations and several departments, including; Buildings and Safety Engineering, Civic Center, Department of Public Works, Greater Detroit Resource Recovery Authority, Municipal Parking, Public Lighting, Recreation, Transportation and Water and Sewerage.
This is the city’s second emergency manager — Michigan took over Hamtramck in 2000 because of debt. State control ended in 2007.
Under Michigan law, an emergency manager has the power to develop financial plans, renegotiate labor contracts, revise and approve budgets to help control spending, sell off some city assets and suspend the salaries of elected officials.
Other cities with managers include Detroit, Pontiac and Flint.
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