The state’s 10-member financial review team was in Detroit Tuesday to meet with Detroit city leaders as they continue the evaluation of the city’s million-dollar budget deficit.
But the meetings have sparked a spirited debate between some Detroit City Council members who are on record opposing Michigan’s Public Act 4, which establishes emergency financial managers in struggling cities.
Council member Ken Cockrel Jr. says he will meet with the team.
“My personal view is that while I have problems with Public Act 4, it is currently the law of the land. The review team is here to do a job,” he said. “Frankly, from my standpoint, I think it is more productive to actually meet with them, hear what they have to say and then turn the tables and share some information that they might find enlightening that might ultimately help us in what we’re trying to do.”
But Council member Kwame Kenyatta compares the situation to the Civil Rights struggles in the 1960s and says he will not meet with the team.
“You can’t at this table pass a resolution opposing it, call the presses, stand with the mayor and oppose it, talk to the people about signing petitions, sign petitions ourselves and then when they call you come running,” he said.
Council member JoAnn Watson remains opposed to the idea of the review team.
"We should not stand for this. It is unfair. It is undemocratic. I believe the national NAACP needs to be called in," Watson said.
Council president Charles Pugh said Tuesday he already attended a meeting with the financial review team and Mayor Dave Bing. Pugh said council members should show they are cooperating even if they have disagreements.
"I interjected at some point and said I hope you notice we are hear in the mayor's meeting with you on purpose and for the purpose of knowing, because a lot of times they appointed financial managers because the mayor and the council in the cities that got the managers were not working together," Pugh said.
The review team has 60 days to complete their report.
Benton Harbor, Pontiac, Ecorse and Flint have emergency managers.