Detroit consent agreement

Politics
1:47 pm
Fri March 23, 2012

Detroit unions agree to pay cuts amid city's financial crisis

Downtown Detroit at night.
user pablocosta wikimedia commons

In a deal announced today, a coalition of unions representing thousands of Detroit city workers said their members approved 10 percent pay cuts and other changes.

The Associated Press reports "the deal announced Friday affects at least 4,500 workers and still needs approval from the city council."

It does not cover the unions representing Detroit police officers or Detroit firefighters. Those unions are in separate talks.

Absent cuts or added revenue, the city is expected to run out of cash sometime in April.

The cuts are intended to hold off a state takeover of Detroit through the appointment of an emergency manager, or though a consent agreement.

The Detroit Free Press reports the question of whether these cuts are enough remains to be seen:

Under the current agreement, the city would save about $54 million a year in concessions — less than half what Mayor Dave Bing originally wanted.

Other savings include $14 million in layoffs and about $100 million in new revenue by aggressively collecting past due taxes and parking tickets, but those were plans already underway before the negotiations.

An attorney who assisted in the negotiations for the coalition of unions, Richard Mack, said "we are going to make sure the city gets back in the black within a year."

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder wants to hear recommendations on Monday from the state's financial review team about whether the state should step in with either an emergency manager or a consent agreement.

But the legality of the review team is getting tangled up in the courts. An Ingham County judge found that the state's review team violated the Open Meetings Act. The state appealed the ruling, which is now being reviewed by the appeals court.

Politics
12:35 pm
Fri March 23, 2012

Michigan appeals court considers Detroit finances timeline

Downtown Detroit
user andrea44 Flickr

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Court of Appeals is considering a case that would influence how quickly the state may decide what to do about the city of Detroit's troubled finances.

The appeals court has set a deadline of Friday afternoon for certain briefs to be filed in the case.

The state is trying to overturn Ingham County Circuit Judge William Collette's ruling that Michigan officials can't enter into a consent agreement with Detroit until he gives further orders. Collette has ruled a state review team analyzing Detroit's finances must comply with the Open Meetings Act.

Collette set a March 29 hearing in the case. But Gov. Rick Snyder wants the review team to report to him by Monday with the recommendation of a consent agreement or an emergency manager for Detroit.

Politics
5:01 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Appeal coming as Michigan governor's office pursues consent agreement for Detroit

Spirit of Detroit
(Michigan Radio)

Aides to Governor Rick Snyder say the state will ask the Michigan Court of Appeals to lift a judge’s order that prohibits a deal between Michigan and Detroit to resolve the city’s budget crisis.

An Ingham County judge says the state cannot make any deals with Detroit until he decides late next week whether a state team reviewing Detroit’s finances broke Michigan’s open meetings law.    Monday is the deadline for the review team to give Governor Snyder its recommendations.

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Politics
4:37 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Race and politics in Detroit financial crisis

user: jpowers65 / flickr

Every Thursday we talk Michigan politics with Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, Political Analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service.

We can't ignored Detroit’s fiscal crisis and where things stand right now.

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Politics
12:38 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Judge says he won't lift consent agreement ban

Wikimedia Commons

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A Michigan judge has denied a request related to the actions of the state-appointed review team analyzing Detroit's troubled finances.

Ingham County Circuit Judge William Collette on Thursday turned down a request from Gov. Rick Snyder and the financial review team to lift an earlier order keeping them from moving ahead with a consent agreement with Detroit city officials.

The judge said that must wait until his March 29 hearing examining whether the review team failed to comply with Michigan's Open Meetings Act.

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Politics
8:36 am
Thu March 22, 2012

The Week in State Politics

Contemplative Imaging Flickr

There sure was lots of news this week about Michigan's emergency manager law - from legal wrangling over how the Open Meetings Act affects how financial decisions are made to the reappointment of Flint's Mayor. Michigan Radio's Political Analyst Jack Lessenberry took a look this morning at the latest.

Politics
10:23 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

State review team talks options for Detroit

The state review team looking at Detroit’s finances met again Wednesday, and formally declared the city to be in “severe financial distress.”

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Politics
12:01 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

What's in a consent agreement? Do you really want to know?

Are you confused about the proposed “consent agreement” the state is trying to work out with Detroit?

If so, count yourself one among many, including me, and I’ve been covering the story nearly every day for the past couple of weeks. In fact, I’m fairly sure that all the parties involved are confused.

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Commentary
10:48 am
Wed March 21, 2012

Age of Consent: Avoiding an emergency manager in Detroit

In Michigan, everybody’s well-being depends to some extent on Detroit not collapsing into economic chaos. It doesn’t matter what you think of the city. The healthier Detroit is, the more easy it becomes to attract business, jobs and people to the state.

So if you realize that, yesterday seemed like a pretty dismal day as city and state officials struggled to try and avoid an emergency manager.  Last week, Governor Rick Snyder presented a proposed consent agreement to the city which was met by furious hostility.

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Politics
7:16 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

Injunction puts Detroit consent agreement in doubt; state review team to meet Wednesday

user PeRshGo wikimedia commons

Legal wrangling over Public Act 4, Michigan’s emergency manager law, has put the state’s ability to work out a consent agreement with Detroit in jeopardy.

State leaders and some Detroit officials want to work out an agreement that would prevent the city from going broke in the next couple of months—without appointing an emergency manager.

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Detroit
2:21 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

Judge halts Detroit consent agreement

user southerfried morguefile

DETROIT (AP) — A Michigan judge has temporarily put the brakes on a potential consent agreement between the state and the city of Detroit.

A ruling delivered Tuesday by Ingham County Circuit Court Judge William Collette in Mason says a state-appointed review team and Treasurer Andy Dillon shall not execute or sign a consent agreement or its equivalent with the Detroit until Collette makes further orders.

Collette set a new hearing date of March 29. A meeting was previously scheduled for Thursday.

The new hearing date is after the March 26 deadline that Gov. Rick Snyder set for the financial review team to report to him. The review team could reach a consent agreement with Detroit or recommend an emergency manager financially-battered city that faces a nearly $200 million deficit.

Politics
8:00 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Detroit consent agreement: City officials try to get on the same page

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has sent City Council members proposed language for a consent agreement, as time ticks down for them to counter a state proposal that would avoid an emergency manager.

Bing says his proposal gives Detroit “The appropriate tools to address the City’s financial crisis, and preserve the rights of Detroiters to be governed by the City’s elected officials.”

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Politics
4:58 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Bing gives council consent deal counter-proposal

Kate Davidson Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - The City Council has received a draft of Mayor Dave Bing's counter-proposal to a state-authored consent agreement involving Detroit's poor finances.

Bing says Monday in a release that a draft of the Financial Stability Agreement was sent Sunday to the nine council members.

The draft was prepared with input from the mayor's staff and council staff.

Bing said the counter-proposal "is designed to provide a reliable roadmap for the city and state to collaborate in resolving the city's short-term cash flow challenges and long-term structural changes."

Bing and council members said the agreement proposed last week by Gov. Rick Snyder gives a nine-member financial advisory board whose members would be appointed by state and city officials too much authority over the decisions made by the elected mayor and City Council.

Politics
9:20 am
Sun March 18, 2012

A strained relationship? What a Detroit consent agreement means for Gov. Snyder and Mayor Bing

Detroit Skyline
Ifmuth Flickr

Every week, Rick Pluta, Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network, and I have been taking a look at the politics behind the state's news headlines. This week: we take a look at what a possible consent agreement for the city of Detroit means for the relationship between Governor Rick Snyder and Mayor Dave Bing.

Politics
5:33 pm
Fri March 16, 2012

Protesters take on emergency manager law as Detroit deadline approaches

A small crowd camped out inside the building that houses state offices in Detroit Friday.

The group was there to protest Michigan’s emergency manager law, Public Act 4—and the state’s plans to use it in Detroit.

The protest was small and peaceful, if loud, with prayers and song. Tempers did flare briefly when private security guards tried to force protesters to leave.

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Politics
12:43 am
Fri March 16, 2012

Behind Detroit consent agreement, it's all politics

Governor Snyder and other state officials have told Detroit this week it needs to accept a consent agreement to avoid going broke.

A draft agreement has been presented to the City Council. It would give the state a great deal of say in how Detroit is run.

But lots of politics stand in the way of reaching an agreement.

The consent agreement State Treasurer Andy Dillon has crafted for Detroit—the only “official” proposal out there right now--can be seen in one of two ways.

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Politics
3:05 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

U.S. Rep. Clarke wants federal government help for Detroit

U.S. Representative Hansen Clarke (D-Detroit) wants the state to hold off on plans to appoint a financial advisory board to oversee things in Detroit.

Clarke is quoted in the Detroit News saying "even though Detroit is in a financial crisis, this current financial board has the power and the focus to cut staff, outsource departments and sell assets. That's not the way you get out of a financial crisis."

From the Detroit News:

Clarke says he wants the federal government to provide relief similar to what was given to New York City in 1975 to keep it from going into bankruptcy.

Clarke, who says he's prepared to introduce legislation in Congress next week, says he understands it's a long shot, but said the idea is worth pursuing. Any legislation would have to be passed through the Republican-led House and Democratic-led Senate.

Politics
2:05 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

Michigan Gov. Snyder responds to criticism over Detroit plan

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. Facebook

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder held a roundtable discussion with members of the media today to address the controversy building around a proposed consent agreement he and state treasurer Andy Dillon put forward earlier this week.

Part of the plan seeks to help Detroit with its troubled finances by appointing a 9-member financial review board that would oversee decisions by city leaders.

Mayor Bing and many members of city council have rejected the idea, saying it strips them of the decision-making power given to them by the electorate. They're working on an alternative plan.

MRPN's Rick Pluta reports Governor Snyder is "anxious to see a counter-offer from the city council and Mayor Dave Bing."

But he stands by his plan to give ultimate financial authority to a review team that could veto actions by the mayor and the council.

“Because that would give more confidence to the citizens, people working for the city, vendors to the city, debt holders to the city, and people looking to invest in Detroit to know they’ve got this group of financial experts helping the mayor and city council in a constructive way,” said Snyder.

The governor says the deadline for adopting a plan is March 26.

After the deadline, the Governor could use recommendations from a state-appointed financial review team to appoint an emergency manager to run the city.

Snyder rejected the idea that a financial review board would take power away from city leaders saying under the plan the mayor and city council get to appoint members to the advisory board.

Snyder also said Detroit should not expect additional financial assistance in the near term, even if the consent agreement is put in place.

From the Detroit Free Press:

Snyder emphasized that much of his proposed new spending on public safety initiatives would be directed to Detroit. But he came close to ruling out the idea of boosting the city's state revenue sharing (which city officials insist was cut during the administration of former Gov. Jennifer Granholm), providing short-term assistance to help the city pay its bills or any other financial incentives.

"I would not have any expectation of any short-term cash assistance," he said, "We need long-term solutions."

Commentary
10:54 am
Thu March 15, 2012

Can Detroit Work It Out?

If you were listening to the rhetoric yesterday, you might easily have concluded that there is little chance of Detroit accepting the governor’s proposal to save it from an emergency manager.

Two days ago, Gov. Rick Snyder put forth a proposal for what is being called a “consent agreement,” under which most of the mayor and council’s powers would pass to a nine-member financial advisory board, which would then run the city, possibly for years.

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News Roundup
7:52 am
Thu March 15, 2012

In this morning's news headlines...

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Detroit leaders not consenting to Snyder's consent decree plan

On Tuesday, Gov. Snyder and state treasurer Andy Dillon put forward a plan to rescue Detroit's finances. Almost immediately the plan was rejected by city leaders. They said the proposed plan would strip them of their power. "Why the hell would I sign it?" Bing said when appearing before a group of students yesterday.

More from the Detroit Free Press:

Bing, Snyder, council members and Detroit ministers took to the airwaves and podiums Wednesday, keeping Tuesday's dust from settling.

Bing, in an uncharacteristically combative tone, said the state's proposed consent agreement to fix the city's deficit is unconstitutional and will undermine progress being made by his administration.

Snyder described the criticism as "unfortunate."

Both men defended their positions Wednesday, and at times, both seemed disappointed, frustrated and irritated.

The Free Press reports Bing and city council leaders are working on a counter-proposal.

Gov. Snyder and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley plan to hold a press event at 10 a.m. this morning "to discuss Detroit’s critical financial situation."

Gov. Snyder's higher education plan criticized by university presidents

Four university presidents testified in front of members of the State House Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education yesterday. They were critical of Gov. Snyder's plan for higher education funding. Snyder's budget proposal calls for increases in state support if universities meet certain goals.

University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman said Snyder's proposal is not a fair measurement of success. From MLive.com:

“By all accounts, the University of Michigan is a world-class institution of higher education,” she said. “Yet, in the budget proposal that has been recommended, you could erroneously come to conclude that based on the performance measures that were evaluated; the university is a failing institution.”

Part of Gov. Snyder's proposal rewards universities for keeping tuition rates down. Grand Valley State University President Thomas Haas said tuition rates are highly dependent on state aid. From the Detroit Free Press:

"It is a fact that the single greatest impact on tuition and debt is the presence or absence of state appropriation," Haas said. "If the state had been able to avoid cuts in the past decade, our tuition could be $6,000 a year instead of $9,000. If the state had been able to maintain the 75/25 ratio of long ago, our tuition could be just $3,000 a year, a number well within reach of nearly every qualified student."

Michigan's home foreclosure rate declining

It's good news for a state that has been battered by the economic downturn. Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody reports today "one in every 433 Michigan homes had a foreclosure notice filed against it in February." That's down 25 percent when compared to February a year ago.

The better statewide numbers are mirrored in the Detroit market (down 17 percent from January-down 27 percent from February, 2011), which has long been the epicenter of Michigan’s foreclosure problems.

The nationwide home foreclosure rate declined by 8 percent when comparing February 2012 to February 2011.

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