A state panel says Wayne County is in a state of “probable financial stress.” It was a unanimous determination by the Local Emergency Financial Assistance Loan Board.
Board member and state Treasurer Nick Khouri says now the state will send in a review team to examine the books in Michigan’s most-populous county, which includes the city of Detroit and its suburbs.
“We will take the next step and do a deeper dive and then if the deeper dive shows fiscal stress and then we’ll take the next step and talk about what the remedies are,” says Khouri.
The “remedies” could include a consent agreement that gives Wayne County Executive Warren Evans more authority to negotiate with unions and the county commission on cost-saving measures. Rising says Evans is looking for a consent agreement that will give him more authority to negotiate on cost savings.
“Part of the problem is people don’t quite understand it and we’ve reached stalemates on a lot of these issues and we think that this consent agreement will kind of break the logjam,” says Jay Rising, a former state treasurer who is now an advisor to Wayne County Executive Warren Evans.
If that fails, Governor Rick Snyder could name an emergency manager to run the county, which includes Detroit and its suburbs.
Khouri says a decision is on a fast track, and the process will play it in weeks, not months.