Despite Gov.'s plea to 'stop fighting,' leaders poised to fight a state takeover of Detroit

Mar 1, 2013

Gov. Snyder announced today that he agrees with a state financial review team finding that Detroit is in a "financial emergency." His announcement clears the way for a state-appointed emergency manager. Snyder has a candidate in mind, but wouldn't give up any details on who he has chosen.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing reacted to the news this way:

Detroit City Council is considering a lawsuit to stop the Governor. From the Detroit Free Press:

...the council has directed its staff to prepare a list of law firms to hire as special counsel in anticipation of a legal battle if Snyder appoints an emergency manager.

The Sugar Law Center issued a statement saying they're planning a lawsuit as well

“The Governor continues to use unconstitutional laws to implement unworkable plans,” said John Philo, Legal Director for the Sugar Law Center. “He and others are trampling over the rights of voters in their search for a ‘silver bullet’ they hope will undo complicated financial problems that have many causes built up over the years. The track record of emergency managers proves otherwise. The idea that anyone can come in and fix things in eighteen months is unrealistic."

Congressman Gary Peters (D - MI 14) echoed that sentiment, saying the emergency manager in Pontiac has not helped:

Having represented the City of Pontiac for years, I've seen the kind of damage that can occur when emergency managers sacrifice opportunities for long-term growth in order to achieve short-term budgetary goals. In practice, emergency managers in Michigan have consistently failed to address the systemic problems plaguing older urban areas like Detroit.

Peters said Gov. Snyder has generated "more questions than answers for the families of Detroit."

And Wayne County Sheriff Benny N. Napoleon said an emergency manager is "antithetical to democracy, home rule, and everything I believe in..." In his statement, Napoleon said he questions the state review team's finding that the city is in a 'financial emergency':

“I also have serious questions about the veracity of the state review team’s report that appears to have overstated the city’s long-term debt, a question the Governor failed addressed in his news conference.

“And while I question whether Detroit is in a state of fiscal emergency, I certainly believe that it is in a state of fiscal urgency. The only way to build the Detroit that we all aspire to be is to deal with the fiscal challenges that we do know to exist, place a priority on making the city safe, and provide services that are core to our city. That is the only way to move our city forward.”

Gov. Snyder made a plea for city leaders to stop fighting a state takeover. 

"This is not the time for fighting and blame. Detroit is in a financial emergency," the Governor said.

"I want to solve it. I want to help you solve it. Let's just go. I would appreciate your support in this. It's about speaking up and taking action," said Snyder.