Michael Antoine McMahon was booed by audience members at a March 21 meeting of the financial review team when he said he was probably the only person there who was in favor of an emergency manager. MARCUS WRIGHT PHOTO
• Sun, Mar 25, 2012
By Marcus Wright
Special to the Michigan Citizen
DETROIT — State Treasurer Andy Dillon admitted before the Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit (CBPD) March 20 the banks are calling for state control of the city.
Dillon appeared before the Pastors’ weekly meeting to gain support for Gov. Rick Snyder’s version of a consent agreement that would strip Detroit’s elected officials of power.
During the meeting, Rev. Tellis Chapman asked Dillon whether the Financial Review Team would include in its recommendation to Snyder a clause that would protect residents’ voting rights.
“The review team cannot do anything that would jeopardize Detroit’s bond rating,” Dillon said.
CBPD President Rev. Michael Owens, using CBPD protocol, prevented Rev. Chapman from pursuing the issue.
Dillon, who is meeting with high-profile organizations to push the agreement, also said he had spoken with some members of City Council and Mayor Bing’s staff.
Dillon indicated bond holders, not the state, are requiring the imposition of an advisory board to oversee spending by city officials. He attempted to allay fears the board would control the affairs of the city forever. Dillon said although the board would exist, it would be dormant unless triggered into action by a future “financial emergency.”
The review team was created by Snyder last month. Under state law it is charged with reviewing Detroit’s finances and reporting one of three possible recommendations to Snyder: no or mild financial stress exists in the city; severe financial stress exists and a consent agreement has been reached; or a financial emergency exists and an emergency manager should be appointed.
Rev. David Bullock attempted to question Dillon regarding job creation, a moratorium on foreclosures and $220 million owed the city of Detroit by the state of Michigan, as well as other options that would enhance Detroit’s capacity to generate revenue.
Owens continually interrupted Bullock and finally instructed Dillon to not respond to Bullock’s questions.
Minister Malik Shabazz asked Dillon how the public can trust that he and Snyder have Detroit’s best interest at heart since the governor will not honor the deal worked out between former Gov. John Engler and Mayor Dennis Archer. Under that agreement, the state was to add revenue-sharing if the city cut its income tax rate. Officials report the state owes the city $220 million in unpaid revenue-sharing funds.
“You just admitted there was a deal between Gov. John Engler and Mayor Dennis Archer, but Gov. Snyder and the present legislature will not allocate the funds to pay the debt,” Minister Shabazz said. “How can we trust you’ll honor this agreement if we consent to it?”
Dillon responded he is not an enemy of Detroit and that his record speaks for itself.
Meanwhile, Ingham County Judge William Collette issued a ruling March 20 that keeps the state from signing a consent agreement with the city of Detroit until March 29.
A Department of Treasury press release indicated the state is planning to immediately appeal Collette’s ruling.
“I am disappointed with today’s ruling, which only serves to delay a potential solution to Detroit’s financial crisis,” Dillon said. “The court’s decision completely disregards critical financial issues facing the city and potentially limits options available to the review team. Detroit is in a financial crisis and the time for action is now.”
Contact Marcus Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org