By AP Interview
Mar 6, 2013
Detroit - Mayor Dave Bing acknowledged Wednesday that he likely can't stop the appointment of an emergency manager to oversee Detroit's finances but might appeal a report that criticizes city officials for having no real plan to get out of the economic mess.
Bing met with Gov. Rick Snyder Tuesday in Lansing to discuss the emergency manager issue — six days before the city's deadline to file an appeal of the governor's determination that a financial emergency exists in Detroit and the city has not put forward a plan to resolve it. A hearing date has been scheduled for next week if the city decides to appeal.
Bing told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday if a manager is appointed, he intends to work "collaboratively" with that person instead of battling with Lansing.
Despite accusations by at least one Detroit City Council member that the mayor has thrown in the towel, Bing said Wednesday that he hasn't "quit on anything." Still, he said he's a "realist" about the situation.
"For me, I don't mind fighting, but I'm not stupid," Bing said. "If I know I'm going to get in a fight that I have no chance of winning, why in the hell should I get in that fight? I'm much better off walking away from that and fighting another day."
Snyder said Friday he agrees with a state-appointed review team that spent two months delving into Detroit's finances. The city's budget deficit is at $327 million. It also has long-term debt topping $14 billion and has had trouble in recent months making payroll and paying other bills.
Under Michigan law, emergency managers have the power to develop financial plans, renegotiate labor contracts, revise and approve budgets to help control spending, sell off some city assets and suspend the salaries of elected officials.
The Republican governor said he already has a person in mind to take the emergency manager's job if he decides Detroit needs one to get out of its fiscal mess.
Bing said he still is considering whether to appeal portions of the review team's report, namely the determination Detroit has no plan to deal with its financial emergency. Bing also said he questions if Detroit is responsible for budget problems in the city's 36th District Court.
The court had $279 million in outstanding accounts receivables as of June 30, according to the review team report. Of that amount, an estimated $199 million is owed to the city.
Court officials, as of early this year, had taken no actions to reduce expenditures and had 350 workers while budgeted for 285, the review team said.
The nine-member City Council has presented Bing with a resolution to file an appeal and could vote on it Wednesday afternoon.
"They put a resolution together, but we didn't have any input into it," Bing told the AP. "I've got to make sure we have input into it because in order for me to sign off on it I have to go through it line item by line item and see what I agree with or don't agree with."