Minehaha Forman is a freelance writer living in Detroit. Born on a farm in Belize, Central America, she moved to the U.S. to pursue higher education and a career in writing. Forman’s work has been featured in many metro Detroit publications including Dbusiness magazine, Hour magazine and Corp! magazine. She has provided event coverage for Real Times Media and The Michigan Chronicle for three years, covering the popular Pancakes and Politics speaker series and other events. Prior to working with the Chronicle, Forman was a blogger with The American Independent News Network where she covered Metro Detroit politics and the 2008 presidential election. She will continue to provide commentary and coverage of Detroit politics as a blogger and feature writer for The Michigan Chronicle’s website.
Website URL: http://truthordarestories.blogspot.com/
But I remember three years ago when Bing just got into office and he was trying to do make the cuts needed without state intervention. Remember the union contracts? I particularly remember when lawsuits were flying then namely around AFSCME Local Council 25. The city charter was again in question. Bing had terminated union contracts saying basically the same thing: If I don't there will be payless paydays, the city is broke, and so on. Only, then he estimated the city had a month or two to go before it crumbled--financially that is.
Bing is doing what he and many others feel is best for the city. Concede some power to the state so the city doesn't go bankrupt -- which would be bad for everyone involved. What has to happen is it has turned into an "us vs them" argument when now is the time people need to be working together. If Bing is right this time and the city IS running out of cash, then that is, indeed, perilous for all residents. Too bad Bing used the running out of money in x amount of time warning too many times before.
No doubt he wasn't kidding then, but now, since he is giving the city four days before bust, it's similar to what he said before to get the cuts he needed. So now that the situation has escalated and the stakes have risen, people are acting apathetic. Threats of running out of money are nothing new because the city has been running out of money for a long time. What is the case now? Is it literally a count down to chaos? Does all of Detroit's future really hung on Krystal Crittendon and the lawsuit she filed to hold up the consent agreement? The stakes are high, yes. But does that mean the drama needs to escalate, too?
Will the state pull it funding from Detroit? Will there be payless paydays? These are the questions that remain unsanswered after a meeting this morning between Mayor dave bing and the Detroit City Council.
Despite mounting pressure from the state to drop a lawsuit stalling the consnet agreement, Council told the mayor this morning in a meeting that they would not ask Krystal Crittendon, the city's top lawyer, to drop a lawsuit that calls the consent agrement void due to some $200 million in unpaid water bills and parking ticekets. The council plans on letting the lawsuit run its course, despite serious pleas from Bing and threats from the state to cut $80 million in revenue sharing dollars.
While Bing has been warning of payless paydays for city employees since he got into office, this time it is a reality, he says, calling it a "perilous" position. Stay tuned for what happens next.
Remember when former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was getting into all that trouble? There was much talk about the city charter then, how the law department was powerless to control the mayor, how the charter had to be updated. The talk ramped up into action and an elected charter revision commission worked for two years to revise the city’s law book.
Now, two years later, the new and supposedly improved charter is taking affect, big time.
But a lot has changed since Kilpatrick’s mess and the revised charter is giving the law department the power to act independently of a new kind of Mayor: one caught in a financial crisis and trying to keep the city afloat with state funds—and state mandated financial experts to the tune of controversy. There are those who believe the city could do without state mandated experts taking over city finances.
The new charter has city’s law department separate from the executive branch so that neither the Mayor nor the City Council can give city law officials orders. What’s more, the law department has the power to remove elected officials from office if they violate the charter. The mayor and the council can also remove law officials.
The stakes were raised last week for Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and City Council members. Threats from state treasury officials are putting city leaders in with a financial time bomb: Drop the lawsuit that's holding up the consent agreement or loose $80 million in revenue sharing, a state treasury official threatened. The threat came in a letter to Jack Martin, the state appointed financial guru to head the conditions of the stalled consent agreement.
That spells stalemate for Bing, the Council and Law Department.
Bing and the Council are set to meet behind closed doors today to figure out what their options are.
What’s interesting to me is why the state is so eager to force the city to drop the lawsuit. The state and the mayor contend that the city doesn’t have enough time to wait for a legal battle to play out.
But it seems like that state is worried the lawsuit really might just void the legality of the consent agreement. Why else would state officials be so forceful in making the city drop the lawsuit—a lawsuit that they claim hold no water?
A question for city leaders is: is the law bendable under the weight of an impeding financial crisis?
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