Detroit City Council approves contracts, hoping to avoid emergency financial manager

Dec 11, 2012

By passing five key reform measures Tuesday, the Detroit City Council took an important step away from the appointment of an emergency financial manager.

But, as Matt Helms of the Detroit Free Press reports, the risk remains.

From the Freep:

The council narrowly approved, 5-4, a controversial $300,000 contract with the Miller Canfield law firm, the lawyers Bing hired for advice on the city’s consent agreement with the state but council rejected previously, saying the firm had too many conflicts of interest, including a strong hand in writing the state’s now dead emergency manager law.

Council members Brenda Jones, JoAnn Watson, Andre Spivey and Kwame Kenyatta voted against the Miller Canfield contract.

In a whirlwind morning with council deluged by angry comments from the public, council members also approved contracts with companies that will root out fraud in the city’s workers compensation and health care dependency, allow for furloughs and layoffs of city employees including nonunion members of Bing and council staffs.

Mayor Dave Bing hopes the passage of these measures will help convince the state to release more of the $86 million that the state is currently holding in escrow after a bond sale was held to raise money for the struggling city.

Bing said the city would have to show the state more “self-help” to justify the release of the funds, Helms reports.

State Treasurer Andy Dillon said the state will conduct a 30-day review of the city’s finances before making a decision.

- Jordan Wyant, Michigan Radio Newsroom