Snyders unflinching tenacity pays off for all of Michigan

April 9, 2012
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Michigan’s second largest city and its metropolitan region resent the fact that, to the nation, Detroit defines the state of Michigan. But it’s true. The evidence of such judgment has been passed along through financial institutions, national real estate corporations and by corporate America, and has been especially painful to outstate Michigan as it climbed from a deep recession.

Gov. Rick Snyder’s unrelenting negotiations with the Detroit City Council and Mayor Dave Bing to create a balanced budget for Motown have been universally applauded. The reward for such tenacity was the breakthrough late last week: The council approved a consent agreement with the state of Michigan to appoint a financial advisory board to review all budget matters and grant approval of union contracts.

The poison flowing from dysfunctional “leadership” and its seepage to an entire state has been stopped, and so, too, the red ink infecting the state’s recovery.

Just one day before Snyder’s tenaciously set deadline to appoint an emergency manager for the city, usurping all local budget control, the council voted 5-4 to accept the advisory board instead. Sadly, this did not come about as a result of level heads and a desire to begin creating a sustainable city; it was the Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity that pushed the city officials to agreement. As the Detroit Free Press reported, the influential group of pastors found the consent deal more palatable than the promised takeover.

Snyder released comment in a statement to media: “The council has acted responsibly to put Detroit on the path to financial stability. Approval of the consent agreement is a positive opportunity for the city and our entire state. It’s a clear message that we will move forward — and win — as one Michigan. We all want Detroit to succeed. This agreement paves the way for a good-faith partnership that will restore the fiscal integrity taxpayers expect and ensure the delivery of services that families deserve.

“While the council’s action is a positive step, there’s no doubt that much work remains. The magnitude of the city’s financial challenges means that many difficult decisions lie ahead. We must build on this spirit of cooperation and be willing to act in the city’s long-term interests.”

Mayor Bing’s office noted the agreement allows the city’s elected officials to participate, rather than stripping city leaders of all involvement.

The consent agreement ensures Snyder will appoint three members to the advisory board; Bing and the council will appoint two each; and State Treasurer Andy Dillon will appoint one member.

The Business Journal underscores here that this is only the first step. The goal is not just to resolve Detroit’s current, paralyzing crisis, but to assure sure-footedness to sustaining its long-term recovery. It is not a politically expedient process.

In this there is every reason for outstate Michigan to celebrate the historic agreement, especially its second largest city.

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