Detroit faces possible manager takeover

Detroit leaders may not have power for long after scathing financial report from state-appointed review team

Author: Roger Weber, Local 4 Reporter, @RogerWLocal4, rogerw@wdiv.com
Published On: Feb 19 2013 10:52:44 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 20 2013 03:38:49 AM EST
DETROIT -

Detroit City Council is still doing the work, trying to handle a flood of complaints Tuesday night from concerned citizens.

Meanwhile, the City Council's power and the clout of Mayor Dave Bing could soon shrivel given the financial review team's scathing report. The report all but seals the naming of a state-appointed emergency financial manger in Detroit.

If there is an EFM, why run for City Council?

Read more: Detroit review team finds 'financial emergency' in city

"It's an excellent question and every councilmember will have to consider it," said Detroit City Councilwoman Saunteel Jenkins.

State Treasurer Andy Dillon extended an olive branch Tuesday, praising Detroit's elected leaders for enacting some reforms. He says if an EFM is named it should be a partnership.

"I would not envision that a manager would be here beyond two years. I think the turnaround for the city will take 5-plus years," said Dillon.

The report refers to "operational dysfunction," a longstanding practice of spending and a cumbersome organizational structure. Every year since 2005 Detroit has racked up annual deficits ranging from $155 million to $327 million.

"If they weren't doing long-term borrowing to offset those deficits they'd have $937 million accumulated deficit," said Dillon.

However, Dillon says Detroit is in no danger of running out of cash until October.

"In terms of our immediate deficit, it has been reduced. But right now, again, the cards are not in our hand," said Councilman James Tate.

One Detroiter spoke Tuesday night in favor of an emergency financial manager. The retired teacher is worried about dangerous buildings.

"Let's not drag this drama out any longer. Let's go ahead and do this thing," said Tom Wilson.