Gov. Snyder closer to selecting emergency manager to appoint over Detroit

snyder, rickGov. Snyder is preparing to appoint an emergency manager over Detroit by the end of March, but first he must find someone able – and willing – do the job.

Sources close to the governor said his first choice for EM – former Washington D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams – has backed out, leaving him with another out-of-state candidate.

Snyder reportedly is waiting to hear back from the unidentified candidate this week on whether he or she will take the job.

The governor will begin building his case as early as this week with the release of a financial report by a three-member financial review team, which has concluded the city’s budget is a runaway mess.

On Jan. 31, we first broke the story that Snyder had decided to appoint an EM, and his first choice was Williams, who helped dig out Washington D.C. from mountains of debt.

Not unsurprisingly, the rest of Detroit’s media ignored the story.

Whoever takes the position won’t have an easy time. The city’s debt is so enormous that many budget experts believe Detroit has no choice but to eventually file for bankruptcy.

The other problem is finding places to cut without further endangering residents. To reduce the deficit, Mayor Dave Bing has reduced the budgets of the fire and police departments even as crime and arson are out of control.

Another challenge will be handling persistent criticism from some Detroiters who believe a state takeover is a racist plot to sell off city assets, such as Belle Isle and much of the riverfront.

Snyder has been looking outside of the state for the appointment. It appears Snyder is not planning to go with one of the usual suspects – former mayoral candidate and municipal executive Charlie Beckham, former deputy mayor and mayoral candidate Freman Hendrix and former Coleman Young veteran Charlie Williams.

Under an emergency manager, the city council likely would lose much of its pay and power.

Snyder has accused the council of intentionally delaying cuts – a major reason he’s planning to appoint an EM.

The governor plans to make the decision before March 27, when a new emergency manager law goes into effect

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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.