Detroit financial crisis: Takeover fight looms

March 1, 2013
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The clock is ticking.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder today officially declared that Detroit is experiencing a financial emergency, setting the stage for appointment of an emergency financial manager.

The governor said he has someone in mind for the job, but won’t yet say who the likely person is.

But the path from here to there isn’t completely free of obstacles, no matter who the governor wants to see appointed to the post..

First, the city has 10 days to appeal Snyder’s decision. If there is an appeal,  a hearing would be held on March 12, the governor said.

Beyond that appeal, the Free Press reported today that a majority of City Council members have said they support pursuing legal action to prevent a state takeover of the city’s government.

Snyder, speaking before an invited audience at Wayne State University, said it is an “all hands on deck” situation, but it sure doesn’t look like everyone is ready to row in the same direction.

Organized labor’s criticism of Snyder’s announcement was immediate.

“When times are tough, it is especially important that decisions are made democratically and locally,” Metro Detroit AFL-CIO President Chris Michalakis and Michigan State AFL-CIO President Karla Swift said  in a joint statement issued while the governor’s televised appearance was still being broadcast. “Today’s announcement by Gov. Snyder recommending an emergency manager does a disservice to every Detroit citizen.  It will lead to cuts in vital services, which will benefit out-of-town creditors and make our communities less livable.

“Detroit’s problems developed over the course of decades, and they won’t be solved overnight.  Now that working people and their democratically elected officials are shut out of the process, it will be even harder for Detroit to spark and sustain a proper economic recovery, which includes prosperity for ordinary families.”