Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mayor Bing Fails to Show at Special City Council Session He Called

Monday November 26th City Council was called upon to meet with Mayor Dave Bing, at the Mayor's request. However at 12:03 pm the Mayor pulled air time with WXYZ tv to announce a close friend was sick and required a visit during the appointed time for the meeting, Mayor Bing sent Kirk Lews, Chief of Staff to act as Deputy Mayor before City Council regarding a requested re-vote on the Miller Canfield contract.

City Council found there were numerous improprieties in the manner of the Mayor calling this meeting.
  1. According to Mayor Bing's liaison to City Council Adam Hollier notice was posted in 3 locations around Coleman A Young Municipal Center after 5pm on November 21st. This provides insufficient notice during the holiday weekend with offices closed Thursday and Friday. In effect notice would be seen when arriving at work Monday. Open Meetings Act requires notice posted 18 hours in advance.
  2. Mayor Bing sent an appointee as Deputy Mayor Kirk Lewis to the meeting with all nine elected City Council officials present. As an elected official he should have been present personally as the person who called the meeting.
  3. The issues to be discussed were voted on November 20th and results are final.

Issues to have been Discussed

Miller Canfield Contract Supplanting Corporation Counsel

A Miller Canfield Paddock and Stone, P.L.C. contract to manage legal matters for the Reform Agenda of the Financial Stability Agreement was DENIED on November 20th. This was the first Miller Canfield contract presented to City Council after over nine months of council and the public demanding contract to be presented. 

Jones, reso. autho. Contract No. 2870456 – 100% City Funding – The engagement is to provide legal advice and litigation representation pertaining to implementing the City’s ongoing restructuring as contemplated in the Financial Stability Agreement among the City, the Michigan Department of Treasury, and the Review Team for the City of Detroit (“FSA). – Miller Canfield Paddock & Stone PLC, 150 West Jefferson, Suite 2500, Detroit, MI 48226 – Contract Period: August 1, 2012 through June 30, 2014 – Contract Amount Not to Exceed: $300,000.00.    (Hourly Rate has been changed from $350.00 per hour to $275.00 per hour)  (Contract period has been changed start date changed from January 1, 2012 to August 1, 2012, end date changed from December 31, 2015 to June 30, 2014.)    MAYOR’S OFFICE
This agenda item was discussed on November 14th at the Internal Operations Standing Committee. Program Management Director Kriss Andrews was present to answer questions regarding the contract.

The approval of the Miller Canfield contract was a key milestone on the Milestone Agreement, due by November 30th. City Council members have claimed the Mayor is using extortion to push through an agenda. Today's rush meeting would certainly be defined as coercion, even with the multiple failures that it met.

The city is facing a law firm considered a formidable opponent, that has 109 lawyers on the Super Lawyers list. Miller Canfield worked with Governor Rick Snyder to put tooth into the 2011 Emergency Manager Law, Public Act 4 - enabling it to alter corporate structure of municipalities and alter union contracts without negotiation. On March 21, 2011 Governor Snyder issued a Special Letter to Michigan Legislators with his plans on use of the newly passed Emergency Manager Law. Within these plans the dismantling of city and county services is explained as the path toward creating metropolitan governments which would assume those services. Bills in the Senate and House were introduced November 8, 2011 to establish the Metropolitan Area Metropolitan Authority (MAMA) Act.The problem with this approach is how effective a broad reach would be in addressing specific needs within local communities. Local communities can push local issues forward that may not be present across an entire metropolitan area - servicing those needs is a matter of regional oversight, not outright control of local government.

Emergency Managers have been being trained through Turnaround Management Association. Kriss Andrews is one of their Certified Turnaround Professional (CTP) graduates. Jack Martin found favor through his track record as indicated by Mlive when he was appointed Emergency Manager over Highland Park Public Schools.

Pension Obligations

One additional item on the schedule, total of two items for the meeting.
Cockrel, Jr. reso. autho. To amend the FY 2012-13 Budget to address costs in excess of budget for FY 2011-12 UAAL pension obligations.
I believe this came forward from a document Free Detroit unearthed from a June 2012 study done by Foster McCollum White & Associates titled "17 point draft plan to re-align Detroit's fiscal and operational structure". This document is well worth reading, and points from the document will be in our next post. It details the dismantling of departments, reallocation of funds and more in a quick 8 page guide. The document can also be downloaded from the Public Documents library at Free Detroit No Consent.

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