Detroit consent agreement

City of Detroit

Detroit city officials are struggling to come up with a unified response to Governor Snyder’s decision to appoint an emergency financial manager.

They now have less than a week to decide if they want to challenge that. If they do, Governor Snyder has said a hearing will be held March 12.

Most members of the City Council want to at least pursue a public hearing challenging Snyder’s decision. But several say that’s difficult because Detroit mayor Dave Bing hasn’t publicly declared his position.

We should know more about Detroit’s grim financial situation on Tuesday.

That’s when Governor Snyder is expected to receive a long-awaited report on the city’s finances.

A state-appointed review team began the process in December. Governor Snyder gave the group an extension because he wanted them to take a deep dive into Detroit’s long-term debt--estimated at more than $12 billion.

Snyder's office declined comment on Monday. But speaking to reporters a couple of weeks ago, the Governor said he’ll move quickly after he gets the report.

“It will probably take a week or two for me to make a full analysis of the report, and then decisions will be made,” Snyder said. “My reputation is not one to be sitting on things rather than making decisions.”

It’s widely expected that the report will depict a city on the brink of insolvency, a mayor and City Council unable to handle it—and suggest further state intervention.

Detroit has had a “financial stability agreement” with Lansing for nearly a year, but the city’s financial picture has only worsened since then.

Snyder has acknowledged interviewing candidates to potentially serve as the city’s emergency manager.

Detroit can just barely avoid running out of cash this fiscal year--if it implements some key measures.

That’s what the city’s finance officials told its financial advisory board on Monday.

The premise to avoid insolvency involves some immediate cuts, some deferred payments—and a few big “ifs.”

Some of those measures are so-called “structural changes,” like mandatory furlough days, layoffs, and possible pension and health care changes. Others defer payments or take one-time opportunities to grab
cash.

Bing and City Council fire Detroit city attorney

Jan 8, 2013

Mayor Dave Bing, with the support of six city council members, has ousted Detroit’s top city lawyer, Krystal Crittendon.

Crittendon, a controversial figure at City Hall, had been criticized by Bing for her opposition to Detroit’s consent agreement with the state.

A preliminary state review of Detroit’s finances says “financial reporting problems” make it difficult to know where things actually stand.

The report was issued Friday, just days after state treasurer Andy Dillon initiated the process that could lead to an emergency financial manager.

It found Detroit has “significant cash flow problems.” But projections vary from month to month, “making it difficult to make informed decisions.”

Darrell Burks is a member of Detroit’s Financial Advisory Board, an appointed body mandated by Detroit’s consent agreement with Lansing.

Detroit’s march toward a state-appointed emergency financial manager appeared to speed up Monday, as State Treasurer Andy Dillon announced his intention to start the review process that could end up there.

The city’s financial advisory board voted to support Dillon's move to start the process. It can last up to 30 days under Public Act 72.

Board members heard ever-more dire news about the city’s finances during the meeting

Efforts to resolve a dispute that’s pushed Detroit to the brink of financial crisis flopped again on Monday.

Mayor Dave Bing called a special meeting with the City Council, hoping Council members would approve a contract with law firm Miller Canfield.

Lansing is sitting on $30 million in Detroit bond money because Council didn’t approve that contract, which was part of a “milestone agreement” between Bing and state officials.

Detroit mayor Dave Bing says he’ll resort to mandated employee furlough days before letting the city go broke.

The city is facing a likely $18 million cash shortfall next month. That’s despite having a consent agreement with the state that’s intended to avoid just such a crisis.

This week, the Detroit City Council voted down a contract with a law firm. That relatively small item was crucial to the city’s cash situation because it was part of a “milestone agreement” laying out conditions for releasing Detroit bond money the state is holding in escrow.

Detroit mayor Dave Bing says the Detroit City Council has pushed the city to the brink of another cash crisis.

The Council voted Tuesday to reject a contract with the law firm Miller-Canfield.

Bing maintains that approving that contract was part of a so-called “milestone agreement” with the state, which is holding $30 million Detroit bond money in escrow.

Travel and Leisure magazine

Without major changes, it looks like the proposal to turn Detroit’s Belle Isle into a state park doesn’t have a shot with the Detroit City Council.

City Council members blasted the proposal at a meeting Tuesday, calling it, among other things, “ridiculous” and “terrible.”

Mayor Dave Bing and Governor Snyder outlined the plan last week. It calls for the city to lease Belle Isle to the state for 30 years. In return, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources would maintain the island. The state would also make some as-yet-unspecified major upgrades.

Despite opposition from Governor Snyder, the Detroit City Council voted to put four proposed charter amendments on the November ballot.

Detroit and Lansing went through a long, contentious process before the two sides reached a consent agreement to keep the city from going broke.

But that agreement has faced resistance from some Council members.

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Detroit police officers have won a day in court—and the temporary suspension of new contract terms that were set to go into effect in the coming week.

The case’s legal outcome could have major implications for Detroit’s consent agreement with the state.

Mayor Dave Bing imposed new contract terms on most city employees, including police, last month.

Those changes included a 10% pay cut, and throwing out old work rules—which led the department to implement new 12-hour shifts for officers.

Detroit’s Financial Advisory Board is charged with ensuring the city’s financial viability--and has sweeping powers to do that under the city’s consent agreement with Lansing.

But at a board meeting Monday, some Detroit police officers pleaded with the board to consider the human cost of their actions.

Like most city employees, most police officers are about to get hit with a 10% pay cut.

They also face other cutbacks and major changes—including working twelve-hour shifts—as the department, and the city, try to re-align in the face of major budget cuts.

Three Detroit City Council members led a rally opposing what they call a “state takeover” of Belle Isle Wednesday, saying plans to lease the park to the state amount to stealing a Detroit “jewel.”

State and city officials are in talks to lease the island park to the state, which would integrate it into the state parks system. The plan’s advocates say the state would make much-needed improvements to Belle Isle, while freeing up Detroit dollars for other uses.

Niala Boodhoo / Michigan Radio

Signs of a widening rift between Detroit and state officials cropped up Tuesday, as rhetoric heated up over what’s going to happen to Detroit’s Belle Isle.

According to news reports, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said he’s rejected the state’s proposed offer to lease Belle Isle for 99 years.

A provision in Detroit’s consent agreement with Lansing provides for creating park funding for Belle Isle, while ensuring continued City ownership by designating  Belle Isle as part of a cooperative state relationship with Milliken State Park” on Detroit’s riverfront.

Rumors are running rampant in the Detroit Police Department after the city imposed a pay cut and changes to work rules on most officers.

That’s according to officers who spoke privately about what those changes will do to the city’s long-troubled police force.

Just before Mayor Dave Bing imposed the new contract terms, including a 10 percent pay cut, Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee Jr. praised his officers for their dedication.

“They could do other things," Godbee said. "Nobody has checked it in, nobody has hung up their badge and gun at the door.”

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has imposed new contract terms on nearly all city workers.

The move comes a day after the Detroit City Council rejected those terms. But the city’s consent agreement with the state lets city officials impose them anyway.

Bing said it was a tough decision, but a necessary one.

“It’s not easy," he told reporters Wednesday morning. "I know it’s going to be difficult for a lot of people. But I’ve got to worry about 700,000 people in the city of Detroit, not just the workers.”

Today, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing decided to go ahead and impose new contract terms that will cut wages by 10 percent and drastically change their work rules for many of Detroit's city union workers.

This decision comes after the Detroit City Council voted down the proposed plan yesterday, 5-4.

The race is on to impose new contracts on Detroit’s city unions, and city officials made the case for doing that before the Detroit City Council on Monday.

Detroit’s consent agreement with the state essentially allows it to get around the collective bargaining process.

Mayor Dave Bing has proposed new contract terms that will cut wages by 10 percent and drastically change work rules for most city workers.

But that’s not all. City officials also want the power to alter contract terms at almost any point.

Governor Snyder is ready to send bulldozers, cops and social welfare workers into Detroit.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing confirmed reports Friday that the state is sending money and resources Detroit’s way.

The goal is to focus intensely on stabilizing several city neighborhoods, with an emphasis on demolishing vacant homes.

Bing says state and city officials chose the target neighborhoods jointly.

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