Reporting Vickie Thomas
DETROIT (WWJ) – With Detroit filing for bankruptcy, what affect will it have on the ability to attract business to the city? At least one city leader believes bankruptcy will give the city a fresh start.
City councilman Ken Cockrel Jr. says he doesn’t fear the bankruptcy process and he doesn’t believe residents should either. Cockrel says eliminating most of Detroit’s debt has its advantages.
“I don’t think we’re going to be able to take care of all of them because just based on what I’ve researched and read about other municipal bankruptcies, although none has ever taken place on this scale, they were not able to eliminate all of the debts. But if we can use it to get rid of a massive amount of our debt, then as I said, it’s an opportunity for us to maybe clean the slate and truly restructure city government and move forward with a smaller, leaner city government,” says Cockrel.
Meantime, in addition to creditors and retirees, city employees are also on edge as Detroit enters uncharted territory with last week’s bankruptcy filing.
City council staffers are already working under 90-day contracts and Council President Pro Tem Andre Spivey says the bankruptcy makes the future a lot more uncertain for all employees.
“I’m real with my staff. And I’ve told them, ‘if you have a better opportunity.’ I never want you to leave, I’m loyal to my staffers because I think they’ve been loyal to me. And if you can, stay. But I’m a realist, if you need to look for more gainful employment that’s more stable, then do so,” says Spivey.
On the flip side, one insider tells WWJ Citybeat reporter Vickie Thomas, now that the city has filed for bankruptcy it will be difficult to recruit workers so some may actually see a bump in pay to keep them around.