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Friday, March 30, 2012

Op/Ed-Governor Snyder's version of a Consent Agreement creates tensions between Detroit & Lansing

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder stated on local station WXYZ-Channel 7 Detroit's town hall meeting 'Detroit 2020-The Challenge of Change' that he believes his efforts to put a Emergency Manager in control of Michigan largest city is creating racial divides across the state.

Considering Gov. Snyder's latest version of a Consent Agreement for Detroit or him mandating a Emergency Manager for the struggling city; racial and unionize worker divisions this action could create don't appear to be first on the Governor's mind.

According a document on Gov. Snyder's version of the Consent Agreement, presented to Detroit City Council and obtained by the Detroit Free Press, its' understandable why divisions exist between the two entities, beginning with Section 1.1 Establishment and Purpose.
"The Financial Advisory Board shall be a public body politic and an intergovernmental entity that is neither a commission, board or council of the City nor a commission, board or council of the State," it states but yet it states, "Financial Advisory Board is charged with: (a) consulting with and assisting the City regarding implementation of systems and improvements in the Support Subjects; (b) monitoring and reporting upon the City’s ongoing financial performance; (c) making recommendations to and assisting the City with the City’s preparation, implementation and execution of an annual Triennial Budget and General Appropriations Act".

The 'Financial Advisory Board' would be responsible for reporting Detroit's financial status to Gov. Snyder's office, ensuring the City is meeting obligations by aligning its' operational governance with this agreement. Detroit would indeed be controlled by a large part, by state governmental entities. 

Then there's this. A breakdown of who's appointed to Detroit's proposed 'Financial Advisory Board' and by whom in section 1.2 Composition:
(a) Three individuals appointed by the Governor;
(b) Two individuals appointed by the Mayor;
(c) Two individuals appointed by the City Council;
(d) One individual appointed jointly by the Governor and the Mayor and subject to confirmation by the City Council; and
(e) One individual appointed by the State Treasurer.
The Governor's office stated earlier in this document, "The Financial Advisory Board shall be a public body politic and an intergovernmental entity that is neither a commission, board or council of the City nor a commission, board or council of the State." Yet, it appears a total of 5 out of 9 'Board Members' are appointed in one way or the other to serve interests of Gov. Snyder. Following 'Robert's Rules of Order' for quorums, the state would have a seated majority influence on Detroit's operational and budgetary affairs.

Appointed members of the 'Financial Advisory Board", if the agreement is  adopted in whole by Detroit's City Council, doesn't spell out if any member of this body is required to have any formalized higher educational experience or a degree. Instead, as the document states, each participant of the board must possess a background with 'sophisticated financial transactions'.

"Each member of the Financial Advisory Board (any such member, a "Member") shall possess at least ten years’ experience with either (a) sophisticated municipal financial transactions, (b) Support Subjects in the context of distress and transition environments, (c) complex, multi-dimensional governmental restructurings, (d) governmental labor relations, health care benefits and/or pension matters, or (e) local government management with government units having consolidated revenues of $250 million or more. Prior to appointment of an individual as a Member, the Appointing Entity shall request independent confirmation that the individual possesses the qualifications required under this Section 1.2 from the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants or the Michigan Government Finance Officers Association."
As for the Detroit City Council that remains in place the section titled 3.4 Limitation on City Council's Budget Approval of Governor's Snyder's proposal, limits the Council's authority for managing city affairs, to seat warmers.
"Except for the Transitional Period as set forth in Section 6.7(b) of this Agreement, the City Council shall not approve a Budget, any amendment to a budget, a general appropriations ordinance or any amendment to a general appropriations ordinance that (a) reflects revenues in excess of the Revenue Estimation, net of any Set-Aside, approved by the Financial Advisory Board for the corresponding Budget year, (b) reflects the collection of revenue from sources not approved by the Financial Advisory Board, (c) fails to comply with the requirements of Act 2 or other applicable law; or (d) incorporates payments not approved by the Financial Advisory Board as part of the Budget."
In section 4.1 Authority for Collective Bargaining Agreements, Governor Snyder describes how Mayor Bing would have rights to construct Unionized Bargaining Agreements with City of Detroit workers. Nevertheless, section 4.2 Collective Bargain Agreement; Restriction describes how the Mayor's authority is subject to 'check and balance' by Governor Snyder's quorum on the 'Financial Authority Board'.
"4.2 Collective Bargaining Agreements; Restriction. The parties hereto agree that the Mayor shall not propose or execute, and the City Council shall not approve, any instrument which modifies, amends, extends, supplements or replaces the terms or conditions of, or is a successor agreement to, any collective bargaining agreement in effect as of the effective date of this Agreement or thereafter unless such modification, amendment, extension, supplement, replacement or successor agreement satisfies the requirements of Annex D as determined by the Financial Advisory Board or if a modification, amendment, extension, supplement, or replacement is required by law. 
For purposes of this Section 4.2, “collective bargaining agreement” includes an arbitration award, excepting an arbitration award resulting from an arbitration proceeding concluded prior to the effective date of this Agreement."
What is Annex D? Governor Snyder's document refers to State Treasurer Andy Dillon office to construct the details.
Required Provisions of Collective Bargaining Agreements
[to follow from Treasury Department]"
No wonder City Council Member Kwame Kenyatta left the table when this agreement was presented to Detroit's elected officials on March 29th. Councilman Kwame said he did not support any aspect of Public Act 4, the Free Press cites. He returned toward the end of the meeting.
"I left because I did not want to engage in any dialogue," Councilman Kenyatta stated to the Detroit Free Press. "This is not worthy of any dialogue."  
It's hard to determine any other conclusion than Councilman's Kenyatta, after review of Governor Snyder 'proposal' which ends Detroit's elected body leadership authority on city operations. The Governor cited on WXYZ's 2020 special that he has set a date of April 5th as the deadline for a deal that would avoid a state financial takeover of Detroit.

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