Emergency manager appointed for Hamtramck

Cathy Square to take helm of city's finances on July 1

By Halston Herrera - Digital news editor
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HAMTRAMCK, Mich. - Gov. Rick Snyder on Wednesday appointed Pontiac City Administrator Cathy Square as emergency manager for the city of Hamtramck, effective July 1.

Earlier this month, following the governor's confirmation that a financial emergency exists in Hamtramck, the City Council unanimously supported a resolution seeking the appointment of an emergency manager and waived the city's right to appeal the finding of a financial emergency.

Previous story: Hamtramck asks governor to send emergency manager

Square has been the Pontiac city administrator and director of the city's Human Resources and Public Works departments since 2011.

Prior to that, she was an infrastructure consultant for the city of Highland Park, and spent several years as a manager in Detroit's Public Works Department.

As chief operating officer, Square was responsible for the supervision of day-to-day operations and several departments, including; Buildings and Safety Engineering, Civic Center, Department of Public Works, Greater Detroit Resource Recovery Authority, Municipal Parking, Public Lighting, Recreation, Transportation and Water and Sewerage.

Hamtrack in financial emergency

On June 3rd, Snyder determined that a financial emergency exists in Hamtramck, after reviewing a detailed report from an independent, five-member review team.

Read: Review team says city of Hamtramck in financial emergency

The review team noted several critical conditions in Hamtramck, including: 

  • General Fund (GF) balance decreased from $2.7 million in June 2011 to a negative $582,365 just one year later. 
  • City audits for the last three fiscal years reflect notable variances between GF revenues and expenditures as budgeted versus GF revenues and expenditures actually realized. In all three fiscal years, GF revenues were grossly overestimated. When coupled with the inability of the city to accurately monitor revenues and expenditures, that rendered city budgets meaningless as a financial management tool.
  • As of the date the Review Team report was submitted to the governor, city officials still had not filed a sufficient deficit elimination plan with the Department of Treasury.


On June 11th, Snyder confirmed his determination of a financial emergency in Hamtramck.

The following day, city council members unanimously passed a resolution requesting the appointment of an emergency manager.

Under the state's newest emergency manager law -- Public Act 436 of 2012 -- the Council had four options: a consent agreement, appointment of an emergency manager, neutral evaluation, or Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

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