Traverse City Record-Eagle

Michigan

February 22, 2013

Governor says people turning down Detroit job

DETROIT (AP) — Some people are already telling Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder that they don’t want the job of fixing Detroit’s financial woes, even before he’s decided whether he’s even going to appoint an emergency manager, Snyder said.

The Republican governor made it clear Thursday during a media round table that he’s still considering a review team’s report that says Detroit is in a financial emergency, and that it would be at least another week before he makes a decision on whether to appoint someone to take over the city’s financial reins.

Still, Snyder said his office has spoken to “a lot of people” about the possibility.

Asked during a short, one-on-one session with The Associated Press if any potential candidates for such a job had already declined it, Snyder responded: “Oh yeah. There were quite a few people who were in that camp. Because if you think about it, and this is not to imply we’re going to do one, but it would be an extremely challenging position.”

Challenging may be an understatement.

Mayor Dave Bing has placed the city’s current budget deficit at about $327 million. The report given to Snyder Tuesday by the state-appointed review team said the accumulated deficit as of June 30, 2012, would have topped $900 million if Detroit leaders in recent years had not issued bonds to pay some of its bills.

Long-term liabilities, including underfunded pensions, is more than $14 billion, and in recent months the city has relied on bond money from an escrow account to meet its dwindling cash flow needs and to pay city workers.

The review team also said that because of its cash deficit the city would have to either increase revenues or decrease expenditures, or both, by about $15 million per month between January and March to “remain financially viable.”

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