Bing won't support Detroit City Council's challenge to emergency financial managers

Mar 6, 2013

The Detroit City Council will press a challenge to Governor Snyder’s decision appointing an emergency financial manager—but they’ll do so without Mayor Dave Bing’s support.

The Council voted to approve that challenge Wednesday afternoon. Bing then held a late afternoon press conference declaring his opposition to the Council's tactics.

“I tried to figure out a way to support the Council in their efforts to appeal the Governor’s decision and to challenge the Financial Review Team’s assertion that we did not have a plan in place to fiscally stabilize the City,” Bing told reporters.

“However, when it became clear to me that the Council wanted to go further and request a hearing to appeal the pending appointment of an Emergency Manager or request an enhanced consent agreement— I decided that the fighting must stop now. 

“We must focus on working together so that we can remove the need for an Emergency Manager in the required 18 months. “

Council members appeared at various times to think Bing would back their effort, and his office sent mixed signals until Bing’s press conference.

The Council contests the state’s finding that the city has no viable plan to correct its financial tailspin.

Council members say they’ve completed most of the objectives in the city’s current consent agreement with Lansing, and Bing has failed to push reforms fast enough.

Members also say emergency financial managers have a track record of pushing cities into deeper financial distress, with Council President Charles Pugh saying an EFM appointment would push the city into “a dangerous downward spiral.”

The Council also approved a resolution asking Governor Snyder to delay his appointment. They’re asking that he wait until a new emergency manager law kicks in on March 28.

Council member Ken Cockrel Jr. says Public Act 436 it gives the city more choices than the current law does.

“You could take the existing consent agreement, [and] actually rewrite it and enhance it,” Cockrel said. “I think we’d have the ability to do that.”

A hearing challenging the finding of a financial emergency is slated for next Tuesday in Lansing.