Detroit mayor, Michigan governor at odds over proposed consent agreement

Bing's office says mayor, City Council are working on counter proposal

Published On: Mar 14 2012 01:31:50 PM EDT   Updated On: Mar 14 2012 10:55:40 PM EDT
DETROIT -

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says he won't accept the position of emergency manager for the city even if it's offered by the state.

The mayor's remarks came Wednesday during a forum at Wayne County Community College District, one day after state officials delivered a proposed consent agreement for the city. The proposal was an ultimatum that would shift political power, consolidate public utilities and shrink city staff and salaries.

Bing says he disagrees with the proposed consent deal and had no input in the consent agreement proposed by Gov. Rick Snyder and Treasurer Andy Dillon.

"I don't agree with it and I won't accept it, and I won't sign to it," Bing said. "They would like for the mayor and the City Council to sit on the sidelines and have this nine person board, to be elected yet ... that we would report to them. it makes absolutely no sense and I do believe it's unconstitutional."

Detroit is facing cash flow problems and a $197 million budget deficit. A state review team has already been digging into its troubled finances, and the governor could appoint an emergency manager.

"The governor doesn't run me," Bing said. "He doesn't run us and the city of Detroit. He's got to do what he has to do and I respect that. But you can't give me a 21-page document and expect me to make a decision for the future of this city in an hour. Doesn't work."

Snyder said city leaders' chip-on-the-shoulder attitude isn't helping.

"If you know someone that's got a challenge, is the right answer they tell you to go away? Or should they hold up their hand and say, 'Please come help?'" Snyder said Wednesday during a speech at the Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference in Lansing. "The inclination so far has been to say, 'Go away.' I don't believe that's a good answer."

When told Snyder had described the city's resistance to state help as a "cultural challenge," Mayor Bing fired back that he is open to anything that's good for Detroit.

"I'm receptive to help, but you're not going to just jam something down my throat and expect me — if I don't like it — that it's going to be OK," Bing said. "And that's what happened with this agreement. I don't like it."

In a news release Wednesday evening, the mayor's office said his staff began meeting with City Council to draft a counter proposal for the governor.

"The administration believes any consent agreement reached between the city and the state must be a collaborative, transparent effort that holds all parties accountable to its execution," said Bing's Chief of Staff Kirk Lewis in the release.