Pugh: What can an emergency manager do that council can't? - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Pugh: What can an emergency manager do that council can't?

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Detroit City Council Charles Pugh talked to the media following the governor's announcement.  (Credit: Fox 2 News) Detroit City Council Charles Pugh talked to the media following the governor's announcement. (Credit: Fox 2 News)
DETROIT (WJBK) -

No one was surprised by Governor Rick Snyder's declaration of a financial emergency in Detroit, but now some council members say they plan to fight it.  They feel they can fix the city's financial problems on their own.

"When I meet with the governor, I want to know what does he believe that an emergency manager can do that we can't do," said Council President Charles Pugh.

He sat in his office and watched the governor basically say the city council and the mayor have not done enough to fix Detroit's financial crisis, short-term cash burn and long-term debt.

Council members are not surprised about an emergency financial manager, but they say they plan to join forces with the mayor and do whatever possible to stop it during the ten day appeal process.

"It's not smoke and mirrors, but we really do believe that we can avoid emergency management and that there is a way to fix this without one person coming in and taking over the City of Detroit," Pugh said.

"Help us understand why if the plan you forced us to adopt is not working now, what you're going to do differently," said city council member Saunteel Jenkins.

What's next?  Council members say they will meet with their fiscal consultant and present their plan to the state that will involve revising the current consent agreement, which the city has been working under since April.  But is it too late?  Governor Snyder felt that changes were not coming soon enough.

"We are losing money every day.  We've stopped the gap just a little bit.  I personally don't think we need an EM, but if an EM does come, we as council need to continue to be here," said council member Andre Spivey.

Council members we spoke to claimed a united front between the mayor and council is key right now, but when they went to reconvene after the governor's announcement, only Jenkins and Pugh showed up.

Jenkins admitted she might be in favor of an emergency manager if she knew any details on how one could turn the city's financial situation around, but to date she has seen no specifics.

"I haven't seen where an emergency manager has come in and solved the crisis.  That's the first thing.  The second thing is in the City of Detroit, we already have the experience of an EM in Detroit Public Schools.  That has not produced any miracles," she said.

Council President Pro-Tem Gary Brown issued a statement that basically said he has not been supportive of an EFM because it eliminates the democratic process, but right now, in his view, he feels that council is not willing to make changes like altering the city charter, abandoning the privatization ordinance and supporting legislation to change the pension board.  So he feels, at this point, an EFM is the only choice to implement those sort of changes.

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