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Detroit Financial Advisory Board's First 3 Appointees Named

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DETROIT FINANCIAL ADVISORY BOARD
Detroit will soon have a nine-member Financial Advisory Board to approve city spending. A view of the city from Air Force One April 18, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images) | BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

The first three members of Detroit's new nine-member Financial Advisory Board were announced Thursday, with appointments coming from Gov. Rick Snyder, Treasurer Andy Dillon and Mayor Dave Bing.

Under Detroit's consent agreement with the state, the FAB will have power to oversee city finances and operations and approve or veto budgets and contracts. Snyder will appoint three board members, Bing and the Detroit City Council will each appoint two, the mayor and governor will jointly appoint one, and Dillon gets to name one appointee.

Dillon's one pick is Ken Whipple, a former 40-year Ford man and current board chairman of Korn/Ferry International, an executive search fim.

Snyder's first appointee is Darrell Burks, a certified public accountant who has worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Detroit since 1986. The company offers audit and business advisory services, including to government clients.

Snyder and Bing together selected Robert Bowman, a former Michigan state Treasurer and current president of the state's Michigan Education Trust and CEO of Major League Baseball's Internet and technology operations. City Council must approve the joint appointment.

"These are important appointments which set the tone for the caliber of people and the type of collaboration that is essential to the transformation of Detroit," Bing said in a statement. "My administration looks forward to working closely with these talented executives and the other members who will be appointed to the advisory board."

The full board must be in place by mid-May.

None of the first three appointees are Detroit residents, notable given Bing and City Council's initial hostility to state intervention in Detroit. During his State of the City address in March, Bing said, "Detroit must preserve its financial integrity and maintain control of its future," and back in December, he insisted, "Detroit needs to be run by Detroiters." (Bing is a Washinton, D.C., native and lived in suburban Franklin, Mich., before becoming Detroit's mayor in 2009).

Bowman "summers" in Harbor Springs, Burks lives in Franklin and Whipple in Bloomfield Hills. Though he is not a year-round Michigan resident, Bowman considered running for governor as a Democrat in 2010, according the Associated Press.

According to the Free Press, FAB members must have "at least 10 years of experience with sophisticated municipal financial transactions, complex, multidimensional governmental restructurings, governmental labor relations, health care benefits or pension matters, or local government management. Appointees have also had their qualifications confirmed by the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants or the Michigan Government Finance Officers Association."

City Council recently requested applicants for the city's new chief financial officer and project management director positions, both required under the consent agreement, have direct government experience.

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