Detroit Will Be Run by Financial Manager

Photo Credit: Reuters
The state of Michigan is taking on one of the most difficult turnaround projects ever attempted: a rescue of a sprawling city with $14 billion in debt, a depleted tax base, a legacy of government corruption—and very little time left to avert financial collapse.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder said Friday he plans to appoint an emergency financial manager for Detroit, taking control of the state’s largest city out of the hands of elected leaders. The governor, who has called a revitalization of Detroit critical to sustaining the state’s nascent economic recovery, said he didn’t believe city leaders were addressing rapidly enough Detroit’s ballooning deficits and a persistent cash drought.

At an invitation-only town hall at Wayne State University, Mr. Snyder called it a “sad day” that he “wished had never happened.” But he said that the emergency manager would also bring Detroit new promise. “It’s time to say that we should be moving forward,” he said.

City and state Democratic leaders opposed the governor’s move. “I am deeply disappointed by today’s hostile takeover of Detroit. We need to trust the democratic process, not throw it out,” said Lon Johnson, chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party, in a statement on Friday.

The governor’s decision represents a turning point for a city that was once the industrial capital of America and an engine of its growth. Six decades ago, Detroit was a city of nearly two million people brimming with factory jobs that offered immigrants from the South and abroad a pathway into the American middle class.

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