Detroit City Council passes consent agreement with 5-4 vote

Gov. Rick Snyder has Thursday deadline to decide Detroit's financial plan

DETROIT - The Detroit City Council approved a consent agreement by a vote of 5-4 on Wednesday.

Gov. Rick Snyder faces a Thursday deadline to decide whether the city is in a financial emergency. That would start a seven-day clock for the city to appeal and possibly avoid the appointment of an emergency manager.

"The council has acted responsibly to put Detroit on the path to financial stability," Snyder said in a statement Wednesday night. "Approval of the consent agreement is a positive opportunity for the city and our entire state. It's a clear message that we will move forward – and win – as one Michigan. We all want Detroit to succeed. This agreement paves the way for a good-faith partnership that will restore the fiscal integrity taxpayers expect and ensure the delivery of services that families deserve."

The governor went on to say many "difficult decisions lie ahead."

"While the council's action is a positive step, there's no doubt that much work remains," Snyder said.

Among the five City Council members who voted in favor of the consent agreement are Saunteel Jenkins, James Tate, Gary Brown, Charles Pugh and Ken Cockrel Jr.

Joann Watson, Kwame Kenyatta, Brenda Jones and Andre Spivey all voted no.

"Who gives away your power?" Watson said. "It is tragic to have this happen during this high holy week."

After the vote there were several racial slurs made by the public forum. The slurs were hurled at the Council members who voted yes. Many insults were aimed at Jenkins.

"Of course it bothers me," she said. "I'm human. But I will sleep well tonight because I know that my vote was based on what was in the best interest of this city."

The deal keeps the mayor and City Council intact but adds a nine-member financial advisory board comprised of professionals appointed by Gov. Snyder, Mayor Bing and the City Council.

"If you are optimistic, as I am, and you look into the future you see a thriving city, and this will be the beginning of that," said Councilman Brown. "But make no mistake about it, the work begins today."

Detroit Deputy Mayor Kirk Lewis says Mayor Dave Bing believes Snyder will act on Thursday, in accordance with a timeline laid out by state law -- and regardless of any ongoing legal challenges.

Lewis called the City Council's vote a "pivotal moment in Detroit's history" in a statement released Wednesday evening.

"It is time now to begin the monumental task of stabilizing Detroit's financial operations, which is and has always been the mission of Mayor Bing and his administration," Lewis' statement read. "The Mayor and his administration worked with the City Council and the State to develop a consent agreement that we believe puts us on track to restructure our City financially and reestablish an infrastructure to make sure Detroit never faces these financial conditions again. This agreement also ensures that the future of Detroit is determined by Detroiters and its elected officials."

City Council's move to save the city from a $200 million deficit is one step closer to saving it from a state-appointed emergency manager.

Meanwhile, Bing is recovering at Henry Ford Hospital from recent surgery. He is still in communication with his staff.

--Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, Deputy Mayor Kirk Lewis and Communications Director Robert Warfield

State-appointed review team meets

The Michigan appeals court has thrown out a lawsuit and declared there's nothing in law that limits the service of a review team examining Detroit's finances.

The one-page order Wednesday overturns a decision by an Ingham County judge who had halted the work of the Detroit review team and said its term had expired. The team immediately set another meeting for Wednesday.

The appeals court says there's nothing in state law to stop the review team from negotiating an agreement with Detroit officials on how to handle the city's precarious finances.

A state-appointed review team has approved an updated draft of a consent agreement.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.