CHICAGO - Detroit Mayor Dave Bing late Tuesday blasted Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder for a proposed consent decree that the mayor said is a thinly disguised state takeover of the distressed city.
Snyder and Michigan Treasurer Andy Dillon presented city officials with the proposed agreement Tuesday morning. The Detroit City Council debated the proposal but did not vote on it at its regular Tuesday meeting, instead asking its fiscal analyst and attorney to review the 25-page proposal.
The consent decree would set up a nine-member financial advisory board, which includes top state officials who would oversee Detroit’s finances as well as its bond issues and debt portfolio. The mayor would be allowed to appoint two of the nine members.
The board is modeled after the review team that “saved the City of New York from bankruptcy in the 1970s,” state treasury officials said in a statement.
Bing would be able to make changes to existing labor contracts, with final approval from the financial board, and the Detroit City Council would remain in place.
The decree would remain in effect until the city has reached certain benchmarks -- such as the elimination of a structural deficit and improved credit ratings -- for three consecutive years.
Bing’s office late Tuesday put out a statement that said he was “tremendously disappointed” with the consent decree and repeatedly called the governor disingenuous.
“I’m tremendously disappointed that this consent agreement proposed by Gov. Snyder does not represent the spirit of partnership needed between the city and the state to resolve the city’s financial challenges,” Bing said in the statement. “It forfeits the electoral rights of the citizens of Detroit guaranteed by the democratic process.”
Bing said the governor was being disingenuous when suggesting that the consent decree leaves local officials in charge, as well as when he recounted recent negotiations with the city to the local press, and when he said the city has not been responsive.
“My team and I have been waiting for several weeks for the governor and his team to respond to the tentative labor agreements and for an offer of tangible financial and operational assistance,” Bing said.
If the city refuses to agree to a consent agreement, the state team that is reviewing the city’s finances still has until March 28 to decide whether to recommend an emergency manager or another option to Snyder.
The Republican governor has said several times that he does not want to appoint an emergency manager to take over Detroit, but he has also said that he will do so if forced to.