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The politics behind a Detroit consent agreement

user: Patricia Drury / flickr

Gov. Rick Snyder presented a proposed consent agreement to City of Detroit officials. Snyder wants to use a consent agreement rather than appoint an emergency manager to fix Detroit’s finances.

Stephen Henderson is the Free Press’ editorial page editor and of “American Black Journal.” He spoke with Michigan Radio’s Jennifer White.

“The whole idea of the consent agreement is about control and power, and this agreement would ask the Mayor and City Council to give up a lot of that,” Henderson says.

According to Henderson, the there is no difference between the advisory board and an emergency manager. Both would essentially accomplish the same thing, which is to restructure the City of Detroit.

“He [Mayor Bing] can do all the things he’s been talking about doing for three years and say that’s it’s not him that’s doing it, it’s the financial control board, or it’s the governor. This really gives them the latitude to make the fundamental changes to government that he’s been talking about, renegotiating union contracts, reconsidering the size and scope of city government.”

Henderson says people should not only think about the politics behind this consent agreement. He says there is a real concern for people living in Detroit.

“We wonder around in the dark here because public lighting doesn’t work. People bleed out in the streets waiting for EMS that doesn’t come for half an hour. Those are the critical questions that face us as Detroiters and I think we would all do well to focus much more on that when we are considering this agreement than on what it does to the Mayor and what it does to the Council.”

Mercedes Mejia is a producer and director of Stateside.
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