iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Gary A. Brown

GET UPDATES FROM Gary A. Brown
 

Leadership and Implementation Will Repair Detroit Finances

Posted: 04/ 5/2012 3:40 pm

Hope is not a strategy. Leadership was the responsible step when Detroit City Council approved a consent agreement between the mayor, council and the State of Michigan in a 5-4 vote Wednesday night.

The constant delays that were occurring in making a decision would never lead to repairing Detroit's finances. Only responsible action and implementation, purely based on reality will resolve the crisis.

We are burning cash and wasting vital time as you read this blog. We spend $360,000 more per day than the revenue generated by the City of Detroit. At least one-third of our budget is spent on debt service and pension obligations, not on needed municipal services.

It was clear that we -- the mayor and City Council -- did not have the political will to address this fiscal crisis alone. A partnership-focused agreement that provides the necessary restructuring tools and independent oversight, while retaining local democratic powers, was the next logical solution.

Many citizens have shared with me, the fact that (they) "don't care who turns the lights on, as long as they are on and stay on."

As we move Detroit forward there are two salient points that must not be forgotten:

1. This consent agreement is not a referendum on Michigan Public Act 4. It is a road map -- action steps to repair Detroit finances. Challenges to Public Act 4 being waged in the court system will not be affected by City Council approving this contract between the mayor and the governor.

2. The agreement City Council approved was not the governor's initial proposal, which I believe was draconian. The mayor rejected that document and fashioned a counter-proposal. Several council members were invited to make changes and amendments to the mayor's version, on behalf of the City Council body. These actions resulted in the final consent agreement approved by City Council.

Now that City Council approved the consent agreement, the real work begins. We must put meat on the bones to create a restructuring plan. The first immediate steps, however, per the agreement will be to select a Chief Financial Officer and Program Management Director -- both will report to Mayor Dave Bing - also a Financial Advisory Board must be in place within 30 days.

The aforementioned steps are key in assisting our municipality toward achieving its top priority of providing an environment to allow residents and businesses to thrive. Detroit will become the beneficiary of this mutual agreement to improve City services and "right-size" administrative operations.

 

Follow Gary A. Brown on Twitter: www.twitter.com/garybrown4det