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Wayne County executive tries to get out ahead of state

Warren Evans says he's long planned on looking to state for guidance on county's finances

The county executive did what he thought was likely after he agreed to run for the position: look to the state of Michigan for guidance.
The county executive did what he thought was likely after he agreed to run for the position: look to the state of Michigan for guidance.

DETROIT – Warren Evans is saying Wayne County has made some progress at dealing with its deficit, but it can't do it alone.

The county executive did what he thought was likely after he agreed to run for the position: look to the state of Michigan for guidance.

"What we would rather do is find the problem and tell the state 'this is where we are' as opposed to the state coming in on their own at some point in time," said Evans.

So, as the sun beat down Thursday on the Guardian Building, it became clear the time has finally come to deal with the county's disastrous financial condition.

"And we've come to that conclusion without additional tools. We may get to a point where we can't do anymore," said Evans.

The tool he speaks of is the ability to impose contracts. That's a power usually granted to emergency managers and one Evans is looking for as a hammer while he tried to negotiate a better Wayne County financial future.

"If we could come to contract terms and other related things without a consent agreement, I would do it in a heartbeat. Even with a consent agreement I would rather negotiate a settlement than impose anything," he said.

Evans' move to ask the state to declare a financial emergency in the county took the County Commission by surprise. President Gary Woronchak wanted Evans to know the Commission is still relevant.

"If a financial emergency is eventually declared, under the law the Wayne County Commission and only the Wayne County Commission ... will decide what course of action will be taken to remedy the situation," said Woronchak.


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