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State of Michigan may step in to run Detroit

December 4, 2011 • Business


FILE–In this Jan. 1, 2011 file photo, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, left, and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, shake hands after inauguration ceremonies in Lansing, Mich. The idea is extreme, even in a city accustomed to fighting for survival: should the state of Michigan step in to run Detroit? The governor has taken steps in that direction, proposing an unprecedented move that could give an appointed manager virtually unchecked power to gut union contracts, cut health insurance and slash services. But city leaders bristle at the notion. Said the mayor: “This is our city. Detroit needs to be run by Detroiters.” (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

DETROIT (AP) — The idea is extreme, even in a city accustomed to fighting for survival: Should the state of Michigan step in to run Detroit?

The governor has taken steps in that direction, proposing an unprecedented move that could give an appointed manager virtually unchecked power to gut union contracts, cut employee health insurance and slash services. But city leaders bristle at the notion. Said the mayor: “This is our city. Detroit needs to be run by Detroiters.”

If it happens, Detroit would be the largest American city ever taken over by a state. Michigan has seized control of smaller struggling cities, but until now Detroit was always off-limits.

That changed this week, when Republican Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration said it would begin a review of Detroit’s precarious finances. If the governor concludes that the city’s economic situation constitutes an emergency, he could dispatch a manager who could push the mayor and city council to the sidelines.

It’s not clear how everyday services like trash pickup and bus routes would be affected, but the fixer’s mission would be clear: Do whatever it takes to stop the bleeding.

Democratic Mayor Dave Bing says Detroit Login to read more

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