Detroit consent agreement

Politics
11:18 pm
Mon April 2, 2012

Another day, and still no decision in Detroit

State officials had  hoped Monday would be the day the Detroit City Council finally approved a consent agreement with the state.

Instead, it started out with a contentious public hearing about union contracts, and ended in a confusing mess of court challenges—with no clear answer about how the whole process will go forward.

The day began with Deputy Mayor Kirk Lewis confirming he won’t ask the City Council to approve new labor contracts for city workers.

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Detroit
6:46 pm
Mon April 2, 2012

Detroit Consent Agreement process brought to a standstill

Spirit of Detroit
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

 DETROIT (AP) — A judge has issued a temporary order to block a state-appointed team reviewing Detroit's finances from meeting Tuesday.   The panel was expected to vote on a proposed "consent agreement". 

The order was issued late Monday afternoon by Ingham County Judge Joyce Draganchuk. 

The order brings to a standstill the process that was expected to result in a "consent agreement" for the city of Detroit.

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Politics
12:45 pm
Mon April 2, 2012

Detroit Mayor Bing released from hospital

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing.
Kate Davidson Changing Gears

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has been released from the hospital. Bing was first hospitalized more than a week ago, after experiencing "discomfort" after a dental appointment.

"The Mayor will recuperate at home from surgery to correct a perforated colon and is expected to be out of the office for approximately three weeks," said Bing's press secretary, Naomi Patton, in a written statement.

The Mayor continues to interact daily with his office and is engaged with ongoing City operations."

In the meantime, Bing's designee in his absence, Deputy Mayor Kirk Lewis, told City Council that the Mayor's office supports the latest draft of a proposed consent agreement from the state.

"It's ready for consideration," Lewis said this morning, adding that "It's time for a thumbs up, thumbs down" vote.

A spokeswoman for Governor Snyder says he wants a deal done as soon as possible, and says the Governor considers this Thursday a hard deadline to reach an agreement.

Politics
8:33 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Detroit union coalition wins a day in court; another legal hurdle for consent agreement?

A coalition of Detroit city unions has won a hearing in Ingham County Circuit Court.

The unions want a proposed consent agreement between Detroit and the state thrown out because of alleged Open Meetings Act violations.

They say state and city leaders inappropriately met on 44 separate occasions to draft the proposed consent agreement now being considered by the Detroit City Council.

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Author Interview
4:45 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Scott Martelle's new book, "Detroit: A Biography"

Scott Martelle is a journalist and author. His new book Detroit: A Biography chronicles the history of the city from the 17oo's to the present day. He was also a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit News.

Martelle believes there was a point in history when Detroit had an opportunity to diversify its manufacturing.

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Commentary
11:59 am
Fri March 30, 2012

Commentary: Detroit - What Happens Next?

You may think I am pessimistic, but I have deep doubts about whether the governor’s proposal to save Detroit from an emergency manager will work. There are two main problems.

First, it isn’t clear that those supporting it can muster five votes on the nine-member council to approve it. Second, I am not sure it will work even if it is ratified. The structure is too complex.

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Politics
11:10 am
Fri March 30, 2012

Top Snyder aide: More needed from Detroit unions

State and city leaders have been working to avoid an emergency manager appointment in Detroit, but so far, no deal has been reached.
user jodelli Flickr

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder's chief of staff says more concessions will be needed from Detroit unions before a financial oversight deal can be worked out with city leaders, but he adds "we're moving strongly forward" toward agreement.

Dennis Muchmore said during Friday's taping of public television's "Off the Record" program that he thinks five of nine city council members ultimately will approve a deal between the state and the city. At the moment only three have publicly expressed support.

If an agreement isn't reached by next Thursday, Snyder will have to decide whether to appoint an emergency manager with sweeping powers to run Detroit. Muchmore says an appeal period starts then, so the absolute deadline on a decision isn't until April 13.

Council members are expected to vote early next week.

Politics
12:09 am
Fri March 30, 2012

New state offer gets skeptical reception from Detroit City Council

The Detroit City Council vetted a proposed state deal to fend off insolvency on Thursday.

The deal is formally called a “financial stability agreement.”

But it's clearly a legally enforceable consent agreement under Michigan’s emergency manager law, Public Act 4.

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Politics
3:38 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

With a financial crisis approaching, Detroit City Council debates new plan

Bob Jagendorf Flickr

Detroit City Council is expected to debate a draft financial stability agreement with the state today starting at 4 p.m.

Ahead of the debate, Detroit Mayor Bing released a statement saying "this draft landmark agreement...was jointly developed by the Mayor’s office, the City Council and the State of Michigan."

“Today’s special session of the Detroit City Council to consider a resolution to approve a financial stability agreement represents a significant milestone in addressing the City’s financial crisis, decades in the making,” said Mayor Dave Bing. “It won’t get fixed overnight, but our partnership with the State will drive us as we remedy our financial crisis.”

An earlier proposal by the state brought charges of an attempted "state takeover" of the city.

Council members rejected it, saying the plan stripped them of their power and was the equivalent of appointing an emergency manager to run things.

Bing said in his statement the new agreement "preserves Charter and Executive and Legislative powers, including allowing the Mayor to hire his own executive staff, and outlines specific support from the State."

The Detroit News reports it's obtained a copy of the new agreement:

[The agreement] calls for union contracts to be rewritten under new terms after they expire June 30. They would be built off a single template for all unions, including police and fire. The contracts would call for:

  • Creating a financial advisory board, advising the Mayor’s office and collaborating with the City to set yearly revenue targets; 
  • Requiring the City to adopt three-year budget; 
  • Creating a Project Implementation Office that reports to the Mayor and introduces a Project Manager to monitor and facilitate immediate project performance improvement; and
  • Providing a collaborative, performance-based process, ensuring the commitment of legislative support to improve City services such as the Public Lighting Department, the Department of Transportation and income tax collection.

The new agreement comes shortly after a coalition of about 30 city unions gave concessions in their contracts, including pay cuts, health care reorganization, and switching from traditional pensions to defined-contribution retirement plans.

Ed McNeil, with AFSCME, told the Detroit News this new draft agreement "is going to make all employees of the city of Detroit at-will. It would devastate the people in having representation. Basically what (Gov. Rick) Snyder is saying is, 'It's time to bust unions.'"

The News reports the Bing administration will push for a vote today from city council, but "council members, however, have said they expect a vote as early as tomorrow or Monday."

Politics
12:55 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Michigan Governor Snyder holds Q & A session in Detroit; City Council set to consider deal Thursday

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder answering questions at a town hall meeting held at the Wayne County Community College in Detroit.
LiveStream

The Detroit City Council is expected to debate a "financial stability agreement" with the state on Thursday.

That news came just a few hours after  Gov. Rick Snyder took to a stage at Wayne County Community College to answer questions.

Snyder said the event was an effort to end the "miscommunication" about his plans for Detroit.

"I'm not here to run the city," Snyder said. "I'm here to be a supporting resource."

The questions were pointed, but the mood was calm, especially when compared to the wild public meeting held by the state's financial review team earlier this week in which one protester, Malik Shabazz,  threatened to burn the city down before allowing a "state takeover" (Charlie LeDuff of Fox News in Detroit later got Shabazz to take back that statement).

Gov. Snyder showed emotion during the town hall meeting as he tried to explain his reasons for wanting to enter into some kind of deal with city leaders rather than appointing an emergency manager.

He said the financial crisis the city is facing is casting a shadow over positive trends in Detroit, and if more citizens are thinking of leaving the city "we are in trouble!"

In one of his more animated moments, Snyder said when he talks to young people in Detroit he asks them, "do you want to be a yuppie living in Chicago, or come make a difference in Detroit?"

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Politics
11:00 am
Wed March 28, 2012

LIVESTREAM: Gov. Rick Snyder's Detroit town hall meeting

Gov. Snyder answering questions from the audience at a town hall meeting at Wayne County Community College in Detroit.
screenshot from LiveStream

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is holding a town hall meeting this morning on Detroit's financial crisis at 11 a.m.

You can watch a livestream of the event below: The Governor's Q and A session has ended.

Watch live streaming video from SnyderLive at livestream.com

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Politics
4:27 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

Snyder on Detroit consent agreement: "Not about running an entire community."

From the governor's official website

Governor Rick Snyder said he still hopes to reach a deal with Detroit officials that would avert the naming of an emergency manager to run the city.

The governor said the agreement has to include specific targets for the city to meet, but he said a deal could keep much of the day-to-day operations under control of city officials.

“Part of it is it’s difficult to explain in some context because we’re still working on the agreement, but when it comes out I think you’ll see it’s really about project management assistance and really good oversight to make sure projects get done,” Snyder said. “It’s not about running an entire community.”

But not meeting the terms of a consent agreement would trigger the law that allows the governor to place an emergency manager in control.

The governor also said he is not yet satisfied with the level of savings he’s seen in bargaining with city employee unions.

The Detroit city council is working on a plan to borrow money to help meet its cash crisis. The plan would require the approval of the state.

Politics
4:24 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

Snyder will talk about Detroit finances at a town hall Wednesday

Governor Snyder speaks to a gathering of city managers in Benton Harbor, shortly after he signed expanded powers for emergency managers. Benton Harbor residents protested his appearance outside the meeting.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder will take part in a town hall meeting in Detroit Wednesday morning to discuss the city’s finances. Snyder says he’s trying to be transparent about the situation.

“A lot of it is getting out to talk to people and making sure that we all get the same facts, because Detroit’s in terrible financial distress in some ways. And there needs to be a long term solution because we all want Detroit to succeed,” Snyder said.

He’s expected to go over the facts at the town hall meeting. He’ll also field questions and probably some criticism from the audience.

The meeting comes as state and city leaders are trying to finalize a deal to resolve major cash flow problems. A state review team has determined Detroit is in “severe financial stress”. The city’s deficit is nearly $200 million.

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Commentary
11:22 am
Tue March 27, 2012

Commentary: Public reaction to Detroit's fiscal crisis

Unless you’ve been at the bottom of a salt mine for the last month or so, you know that Detroit is facing the mother of all financial crises. The city is about to run out of cash and options.

Within nine days, the governor either has to reach something called a consent agreement with the city’s elected leaders, or name an all-powerful emergency manager to run Detroit.

Nobody really understands how the consent agreement model would work, or frankly, even if it would work, but essentially, it would mean an emergency manager by committee.

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Politics
9:48 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

Detroit review team affirms financial emergency, but still no clear path forward

The state review team investigating Detroit’s finances met for what was supposed to be the last time Monday.

They reaffirmed that Detroit is in “severe financial stress” during a raucous meeting that veered into chaos at times.

Protesters, angry at what many call an unconstitutional hostile takeover of the city, mostly shouted over team members as they tried to deliberate.

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Politics
5:26 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

Crowd interrupts state financial review meeting in Detroit

JSFauxtaugraphy Flickr

Update 5:26 p.m.

The state review team looking into Detroit’s finances held what was supposed to be its last meeting today.

The meeting was chaotic.

State Treasurer Andy Dillon and other review team members were often drowned out by shouting and singing protesters in the audience.

In the end, the review reaffirmed that a "severe financial emergency" does exist in Detroit.

But there's no consent agreement between the state and city leaders yet.

Dillon said Governor Snyder is still talking with city leaders.

"If a consent agreement can be adopted, that's an alternative for the Governor, and that's what he prefers to see," said Dillon.

Dillon says if the two sides can't reach an agreement, the Governor can appoint an emergency manager for Detroit.

But by law, he'll need to act within the next ten days.

5:00 p.m.

The state financial review team meeting in Detroit today has adjourned. They did so without making recommendations to Gov. Snyder for how to resolve Detroit's financial crisis.

The meeting was open to the public and was interrupted by loud outbursts from the crowd. The Detroit Free Press estimated the crowd at around 100 people.

4:35 p.m.

A state-appointed financial review team met in Detroit today and was expected to deliver its recommendation to Gov. Snyder regarding the potential appointment of a emergency manager for the city.

Protesters attending the meeting interrupted State Treasurer Andy Dillon during his presentation shouting "No takeover." At one point, the crowd began to sing "We Shall Overcome."

More from the Detroit Free Press:

State treasurer Andy Dillon couldn’t finish his report about Detroit’s finances because the crowd was standing and shouting. Audience members were warned that they will be removed if they continue interrupting proceedings.

At one point Dillon called the audience rude, prompting more protest and causing security to move in on the meeting. The review board attempted to continue with its discussion. Police officers were present at the meeting.

Later, a skirmish between a security guard and a protester interrupted the meeting, but financial review team members tried to keep the meeting going.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek was at the meeting and will have more for us later.

Politics
3:30 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

Detroit and state officials close to a deal?

Update 3:30 p.m.

Governor Snyder says he’s still talking with Detroit officials about an agreement to keep the city financially afloat.

A state review team has already declared a “severe financial emergency” in Detroit. That means they’ll recommend some kind of state intervention to keep the city from going broke. 

The Governor says talks continue over what a “financial stability agreement” will look like.

But he says that agreement needs to contain language that could turn it into a consent agreement if the city fails to live up to its promises.

“So to take this financial stability agreement and enhance it, so that it could also qualify as a consent agreement. So it would meet the requirements for Public Act 4. But it would really be this financial stability agreement going forward about how we could work the city as partners.”

Public Act 4 is the state’s emergency manager law. Under a consent agreement, the mayor or other city officials could get broad powers similar to those of an emergency manager.

2:50 p.m.

Gov. Snyder spoke with members of the media today about a plan to avoid a financial crisis in Detroit.

Sndyer and other state officials are in Detroit today working toward a solution. Snyder said negotiations with city leaders are "fairly far along," and they are a "couple of paragraphs away" from an agreement.

Snyder and State Treasurer Andy Dillon are hoping city leaders will sign off on a consent agreement designed to avoid a looming financial crisis in Detroit.

City leaders rejected an initial proposal by the state and have been working on a plan of their own.

From the Detroit News:

Snyder told reporters Monday in Detroit that both sides are close to reaching a "financial stability agreement," which is what the deal will be called until it can be considered a consent agreement under the law. The governor reiterated he does not want to run Detroit.

City leaders argued that the initial consent agreement proposed by the Governor amounted to a state takeover. The Detroit Free Press reports the city's counterproposal retains powers for local elected leaders.

Officials have been mum on specifics of the counterproposal, but one draft -- not necessarily the final version -- showed the city asking the state to approve a $137-million financial package for immediate relief and change legislation so that the city can raise its income and corporate taxes.

The city's plan, called a financial stability agreement, also would return budget authority to the mayor and the council, and essentially leave a seven-member financial advisory board with the power to make only recommendations.

In about ten minutes, the state's financial review team is expected to make its recommendation to Gov. Snyder on whether or not a state-appointed emergency manager is needed for Detroit.

And as all this goes on, the Detroit News reports on a legal appeal to the State Supreme Court aimed at stopping the state's financial review team.

Andrew Patterson, lawyer for activist Robert Davis, said he expects to hear "shortly" from the court on whether the panel will consider the motion.

If the Supreme Court agrees, it will consider whether the state Court of Appeals acted appropriately Friday by lifting an Ingham County Circuit Court injunction. The injunction prohibited a consent agreement until Judge William Collette can hold a contempt hearing Thursday to determine if Treasurer Andy Dillon and other members of the review team violated the Open Meetings Act.

Commentary
11:24 am
Mon March 26, 2012

Commentary: Detroit on the Brink

Former Governor Bill Milliken turns ninety today, and just about everyone is publishing some kind of tribute to the longest-serving governor in Michigan history. Milliken himself is not likely to say much today, but that’s not because he isn’t still mentally keen. He called me a couple weeks ago to complain.

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Politics
10:05 am
Mon March 26, 2012

Decision day looms for the city of Detroit

State and city leaders have been working to avoid an emergency manager appointment in Detroit, but so far, no deal has been reached.
user jodelli Flickr

Today is deadline day, according to Gov. Rick Snyder. He wants the state financial review team to tell him whether they recommend an emergency manager for the city of Detroit.

After the financial review team makes its recommendation, Snyder has ten days to make his decision on whether or not to appoint an emergency manager, something he's repeatedly said he does not want to do.

He'd rather reach a consent agreement with the city, but so far, city leaders and state officials have not reached a deal.

State Treasurer Andy Dillon and city leaders have been working over the weekend to come up with an agreement. They've been meeting despite Detroit Mayor Bing's hospitalization for a perforated intestine.

The Detroit Free Press reports Kirk Lewis, Bing's chief of staff, "has been made deputy mayor and will act as mayor until Bing is able to resume his normal activities."

The mayor is in regular contact with Lewis, who is talking with Dillon and his officials, so Bing's hospital stay is not expected to prohibit an agreement from being reached, she said.

The Free Press reports Gov. Snyder will be in Detroit today to meet with council members and other officials.

Snyder is expected to talk to the media at 1:30 p.m. today about Detroit's financial crisis. We'll have an update for you then.

Much has happened on this story in the last few weeks. For a look back, you can check out all the stories we've produced here. And you can check out a quick list of recent events published this morning by MLive's Jonathan Oosting.

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Politics
9:57 pm
Fri March 23, 2012

Detroit unions ratify new contracts

AFSCME Council 25 President Al Garrett, at a recent rally to overturn Public Act 4

A big coalition of about 30 unions representing Detroit city workers has ratified a new contract.

The workers gave up a lot, including a 10% pay cut, a major health care reorganization, and switching from traditional pensions to defined-contribution retirement plans.

But for a variety of reasons, it’s unclear whether it’s enough to help the city avoid state intervention.

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