In a stunning and unexpected development, Local 4 has learned the state treasurer has given tentative approval to Wayne County's deficit elimination plan.
This is Christmas in May for Team Ficano. After seeing two previous plans rejected, a letter from the state treasury grants conditional certification. However, meeting the biggest condition won't be easy.
The state treasury is demanding approval from the Wayne County Commission before giving final approval. Ficano says it's proof the state believes the plan is feasible.
"If they vote for this, that the state is in agreement that they think this is a path that's going to help resolve a lot of the fiscal issue in Wayne County," he said.
The treasury wants an up or down vote by May 31. Commission Chairman Gary Woronchak plans to move quickly.
"If all goes well the final vote could go next week Thursday," he said.
Woronchak said he thinks that's doable.
To date, commissioners have been reluctant. But this deadline gives a greater sense of urgency. Its prospects depend on who you talk to.
"I think the prospects are good. I think they were pretty decent anyway before the state's notification," said Woronchak.
Commissioner Tim Killeen would disagree.
"I haven't been counting votes, but I think the prospects are pretty slim given if the plan comes back as it was initially presented," he said.
In an odd twist, the treasury says if the plan is rejected that the Commission must draw up an alternative, taking it out of Ficano's hands. He's not concerned.
"I think what they're saying is that they believe that this plan works. Vote on it. If you think there is something better, then show it to us," said Ficano.
Commissioners Local 4 talked with on Wednesday have a different interpretation. They don't see this as a state blessing. They see it as an ultimatum.