muckraker report

Exclusive: Gov. Snyder plans to appoint emergency manager over Detroit after little progress

Gov. Rick Snyder plans to appoint an emergency manager over Detroit as early as next month because city officials have failed for a year to make meaningful reductions in the city’s cash-starved budget, city and Lansing sources told the Motor City Muckraker.

State officials have been meeting privately with Mayor Dave Bing’s administration and a few council members over the past month to discuss the future under a state financial takeover.

While details are not yet clear, state law gives an emergency manager the authority to sell city assets, bypass city council, impose new union contracts and privatize services.

Snyder has already appointed an emergency manager in Benton Harbor, Ecorse, Flint, Pontiac and Allen Park, and in the Detroit, Highland Park and Muskegon Heights school districts.

Sources said Snyder plans to make the appointment in February or March.

Hopes of avoiding a similar appointment in Detroit were dashed after the city council and mayor couldn’t reach agreements on significant cuts.

In the year that Detroit learned it was careening toward bankruptcy and the state was threatening to take over finances, the city continued to burn through cash at an unprecedented clip. The deficit ballooned to $350 million, forcing thousands of layoffs, numerous service reductions and cuts to fire and police protection.

Many Detroiters are opposed to a state takeover because they say it’s anti-democratic; others worry an emergency manager would unilaterally decimate services and sell parks and other city treasures.

Protests are expected to follow Snyder’s announcement of an emergency manager.

Check back for updates.

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Steve Neavling is an investigative journalist and former city hall reporter for the Detroit Free Press. Living on the city’s east side, Neavling explores corruption, civil liberties and the underbelly of an oft-misunderstood city.    

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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

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  • patricia dowling (@ketchmeifucan)

    Passing a new EM Law in the lame Duck session just before the new year is one of the most egregious examples I have ever seen of a contempt for rule of law. Snyder is by far the worst governor we have EVER had in Michigan.

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  • Dr. Alonzo R. Fleming

    All I remember as a 12 year old boy, is my father taking me out in front of our home and telling me that no matter where I go in the world; no matter what happens to me, I would always have a safe place to come to lay my head and rest; no questions asked. I believe him.

    He was murdered in that same home in 1996 by the savages who now run the city and pompously prance around like heroes in a death house. They gotta go! By any means necessary.

    • bebow

      I am sorry to hear of your terrible loss, Dr. Fleming. The spirit of what your father said when you were 12 is touching. He aimed to set you free with those words, and he did. In the wake of the senseless violence that extinguished his life, the safe place your father fixed for you remains. The safe place is now within you to carry along on the journey he freed you to begin. Thank you for your story.

  • http://Yahoo Ronald D’Amico

    Good Grief! I was born and raised In the Motor City. I can remember how wonderful it was to take a streetcar downtown and not be concerned about getting shot, stabbed, or beat to death!! I home someday The city will recover and rebuild. The “Big Three” are not what they were back in the 50’s and 60’s. Wayne State was growing and building into a great University. I have a strong belief that the Motor City will bounce back .
    Ron D’Amico,,January 29,2013

  • Frank Tomcsik

    It’s about time. Cutting off most of the pay to play by severing corrupt agreements can increase new business in Detroit. Hope fully the racist image can be addressed to welcome white people back into the city for investment and re-locating. Detroit will not make a comeback unless racism is put aside.
    Detroit City Council and the Administration are Racist or they would not be intimidating white people coming into the city with a gigantic black fist in their face. It should be melted down and replaced with full statue figures, one of Rosa Parks and the other of Joe Louis in boxing trunks and gloves. Both of these people are admired by everyone and deserve to be displayed in the city.

    • detroiter

      You realize that is Joe Louis’ fist?

    • Webb

      Not only is that “gigantic black fist” Joe Louis’s fist, but there already is a statue of Joe Louis in boxing trunks and gloves inside Cobo Hall.

      And there are plenty of whites investing in the city and re-locating there. Are there some in the city who are against this for racist reasons? Sure. Are there some in the suburbs who support an EM for racist reasons? Absolutely.

  • fotoD

    I know the city is in a dire situation but one thing all supporters of the EFM need to realize…once the EFM is appointed, they will privatize all public services and assets.

    Just one example is the Detroit water dept. which serves about 4 million people in the Metro area. This is a crown jewel for any private corporation (companies have been buying up water rights worldwide) to purchase at a fire-sale price. We have some of the best water in the country at fair prices. After it is privatized the quality will suffer and prices will skyrocket – look what happened in Pontiac with their water – privatized and now substandard.

    Please realize, Snyder is going to pay someone close to $500,000 per year to come in and auction off public assets and disband all public sector unions and eliminate jobs. It may look at the onset that it will help matters but once this city is corporatized and all major services and assets in private hands, there will be no going back to public ownership or public sector jobs….the corporations will be one more step closer to owning everything and controlling what you do and don’t do.

    • Sarah


  • Marty Townsend

    How can he possibly appoint an EM when there is no EM law in effect? PA 72 was repealed by PA 4. PA 4 was suspended on August 9, 2012 and was voted out by the people on November 6, 2012. In accordance with MCL 8.4, “Whenever a statute, or any part thereof shall be repealed by a subsequent statute, such statute, or any part thereof, so repealed, shall not be revived by the repeal of such subsequent repealing statute.”, PA 72 cannot be resurrected. Therefore, there is no EM Law in Michigan until PA 436 goes into effect on March 28, 2013. The fact that the Governor turned around less than one month after we voted against a law and signed an almost identical law is a sure sign that he isn’t interested in the citizens of this state, but has an agenda of his own. That agenda seems to include the city of Detroit and he is ruthlessly performing a hostile takeover that must be stopped.

    • fotoD

      Marty, they passes a new EM Law in the lame Duck session just before the new year!

    • Detroiter

      PA 72 was not repealed by PA 4. It is still in effect- this has already been litigated.

  • Jim

    Sure, they’re arguing about some 220M the state “owes” them, but they’re not willing to take steps to reduce their costs by an even greater amount. Like a kid who cries till you give them money.. and then they’re fine till they need more money. It’s time they are held accountable for their abject stupidity!

  • tylea

    I am at my wits end. Hurry up with the EFM! I am so sick of these people who claim they represent Detroit, but are only out for what they can get for themselves. I am not talking about the Council either. Still praying

  • Dewey

    Perhaps reducing the amount of water lost from botched shutoffs and broken water lines in the abandoned buildings and houses. If a drip in my house costs over$1000 annually a 5/8 line running year round must cost tens of thousands. Multiply that by the # of water leaks and the loss can easily be in the millions

  • cattgirl0813

    This could be good news or disastrous news, depending on who gets the appointment. Let’s hope the EFM is someone with little connection to the usual list of Detroit insiders so that some actual progress can be made without the possibility of cronyism. If it’s someone from the list of usual suspects (excuse me, Detroit insiders), then it will be more of the same nonsense. The appointment of an EFM can be a true turning point for the city with the right pick.

  • edward winczner

    Thank God finally! I don’t care for Snyder much but this is necessary for Detroit to move forward. any other business operating in the red for so many years would of been done years ago. they need to be restructured.

  • David Wade

    Good. I’ve had enough too.

    • Minister Malik Shabazz

      Steve I recently met with Andy Dillon for two & a half hours….It is nit a question if when but rather when & whom!

    • bebow

      Minister Shabazz, What was Andy Dillon’s goal in meeting with you for 2 1/2 hours? There was a goal. What was it?