DETROIT – Barring rapid improvements to Detroit’s weakening financial condition or a miraculous nosedive-reversing plan from the city’s elected leaders, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder will appoint an emergency manager to oversee a city once renowned for its manufacturing might.
Snyder declared Friday that Detroit was in a financial emergency and appears all but ready to name an emergency manager pending an appeal from Mayor Dave Bing, saying he has a top candidate picked out for the job. Detroit would become the largest city in the United States to have state control over its finances.
Bing said Friday in an emailed statement that he would look at the effect of Snyder’s decision and other options to determine what to do next. He has a 10-day appeal period, and a March 12 hearing with Bing and the city has been scheduled.
If, in fact, the appointment of an emergency financial manager both stabilizes the city fiscally and supports our restructuring initiatives which improve the quality of life for our citizens, then I think there is a way for us to work together, Bing said.
The governor has made his decision, and it was his decision alone to make. While I respect it, I have said all along that I do not favor an emergency manager for the city of Detroit.
Detroit has a $327 million budget deficit and faces more than $14 billion in long-term debt. It has been making ends meet on a month-to-month basis with the help of bond money held in a state escrow account and has instituted mandatory unpaid days off for many city workers.
Those troubles, along with underfunded yet crucial city services, such as police and fire departments, and the absence of legitimate turnaround plans from Bing and the City Council forced his hand, Snyder told The Associated Press on Friday ahead of a community forum at Wayne State University.