Minni’s Morning Coffee: Detroit’s Chaos

James TateDetroit City Council Member James Tate had a question yesterday for the Financial Advisory Board’s Chief Jack Martin. The Board met with the Council yesterday to discuss their proposed cuts to city labor contracts.

 “PA4 we know is up in the air right now. Potentially it will be voted down if placed on the ballot. What is your contingency plan?” He asked Martin, who is in place under PA4 (the state’s emergency manager law) to manage the city’s finances in crisis.

Martin’s Response: 


I can’t say specifically what we may do. But no matter what happens with PA4, we’re still running out of cash.  We need the hard dollar savings to get through this year. There’s a million-dollar difference in expenses and revenue between 2012 and 2013.  My standpoint is we stay on the current path no matter what happens to PA4.

At yesterday’s meeting the City Council did not approve the Financial Advisory Board’s proposed cuts to city worker’s wages and healthcare benefits. But Mayor Dave Bing and the Financial Advisory Board urged the council to act and not stall the labor cuts as the city can no longer operate in the status quo. Under PA4, the Financial Advisory board does not need the council’s approval to make these cuts. 

Martin added: 

“We can talk about this for the next six months, but the bottom line is we’re running out of cash. If we don’t do it in an organized fashion there is going to be chaos and we’ll end up like some of these jurisdictions that filed bankruptcy.”

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