Detroit's Financial Advisory Board, still missing some members, might start meeting anyway

May 27, 2012

A financial advisory board that will help guide Detroit’s budget process is expected to start meeting “soon”—but it will apparently be missing some of its members.

That Board is a key part of Detroit’s consent agreement with the state, and is supposed to have a prominent role in the city’s ongoing budget process.

Its nine members were to be appointed by state officials, Mayor Dave Bing—and the Detroit City Council.

But the Council hasn’t yet approved its picks. A majority of Council members wanted to delay the process because of questions over whether city lawyers would challenge the consent deal in court.

But some Council members—including President Pro-Tem Gary Brown--think that was a bad idea.

“We need our people at the table immediately, with everybody else,” Brown said. “I thought it was a mistake not to do that.”

Council member Ken Cockrel Jr. doesn’t like the delay, either.

 “We ought to go ahead and move forward on this,” Cockrel said during a Council meeting last week. “If a declaratory judgment is offered and a judge says ‘She’s [corporation counsel] absolutely right,’ you go ahead and stop. But in the meantime, I think for us not to have people at the table, it’s a problem.”

The earliest Council could vote on its picks would be next week.

Caleb Buhs, a spokesman for State Treasurer Andy Dillon, says it’s likely the board will starting meeting “soon,” regardless.

He says that’s legal because enough board members have been approved to constitute a quorum.