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Detroit City Council approves financial board picks, moves ahead with consent agreement

The Detroit City Council is moving ahead to implement the city’s consent agreement with the state.

The Council had delayed appointing its two members to a nine-member financial advisory board while the city’s corporation counsel challenged the consent deal in court.

But on Thursday, the Council approved its two members, and a joint pick with Mayor Dave Bing, to the boardthat will play a key role in Detroit’s ongoing budget process. It’s scheduled to meet for the first time Friday.

But three Council members who had voted against the consent agreement—Brenda Jones, JoAnn Watson, and Kwame Kenyatta--didn’t show up for the Thursday vote.

Council President Charles Pugh says that’s their right.

“They, on principle, are not going to be participating in any of the work to execute something they don’t agree with, Pugh said. "And I support their right to do that.”

Council member Saunteel Jenkins says she’s happy with the picks. But Jenkins and other Council members say they want Mayor Dave Bing’s pick for another new, key city position—its Program Manager—to meet with them.

“We want talk about what his experiences have been actually been turning organizations around, ”Jenkins said. She and some other Council members are concerned because Bing’s pick, William Andrews, leads Energy Conversion Devices, which is currently in bankruptcy.

But under the consent agreement, Council members have no power to approve or reject him.

It’s not clear how Detroit’s consent agreement would be affected if the state’s emergency manager law is suspended. That would happen when the effort to repeal Public Act 4 is placed on the November ballot.

State and some Detroit officials maintain that language in the consent agreement allows it to move forward, regardless.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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