(Corrects spelling of Miller Canfield law firm)
By Michael Strong
DETROIT Feb 11 Michigan Governor Rick Snyder
said on Monday he has not offered the job of emergency financial
manager of Detroit to anyone but does have a "short list" of
candidates if he decides that the state should take over
management of the city.
"I have a short list," Snyder told reporters after a
luncheon speech to the Detroit regional Chamber of Commerce. "I
haven't made an offer to anyone. We're talking to people."
The Detroit News reported on Sunday, quoting anonymous
sources, that Snyder had selected an emergency manager, offered
the job and expected a response this week. The person offered
the job was not identified, but the article said it was not
former Washington, D.C., Mayor Anthony Williams.
Snyder declined to comment on Williams, saying if he
responded about one name, he would be asked about others. But
Snyder said there are not many candidates with the skills
necessary to do the job.
Confirmation from the Republican governor that he has
assembled a short list of names for the position came as a
review team studying Detroit's financial situation is expected
to recommend soon whether an emergency manager should be
The city of about 700,000 people has been struggling for
years with a falling population, shrinking tax base and large
payroll for city services.
The city has been operating under an agreement since April
2012 that gave the state some oversight and created an advisory
board. But the slow pace of reforms led Snyder to launch a new
review of Detroit's finances in December.
Municipal finance experts say an emergency manager for the
city would be a key step that could ultimately lead to Detroit
filing the largest-ever Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy in the
The review team appointed by Snyder on Dec. 18 has two
months to complete its study of Detroit's finances and is
expected to deliver its report by Feb. 16.
But Snyder said on Monday that the timetable could be
flexible because he had asked the team to consider the Detroit
City Council's recent actions to improve its finances.
It could take two more weeks, he said, or it could be
sooner. The review team can recommend the appointment of an
emergency manager, who would control the city's checkbook.
Darrell Burks, a member of the Detroit Financial Advisory
Board, which met separately on Monday, said the board has all
the information it needs to make short-term decisions for the
report. They were awaiting some information on long-term issues
facing the city but it could be incorporated in time for the
Feb. 16 deadline.
The city has hired advisers to help in the process and they
have been meeting several times a week, the review board said.
- Miller Buckfire retained as investment bank
- Ernst & Young retained as financial restructuring adviser
- Conway MacKenzie retained as operational restructuring
- Milliman retained as pension and health care adviser
- Miller Canfield retained as external legal counsel.
While Democratic Mayor Dave Bing and the city council have
moved to reduce spending and initiate some reforms, including
layoffs and wage and benefit cuts, to stave off state takeover
of the city, the progress may not be enough to avoid an
emergency manager being appointed.
(Reporting by Michael Strong, additional reporting by Karen
Pierog and Tiziana Barghini; Writing by Greg McCune; Editing by
Carol Bishopric, Dan Grebler and Tim Dobbyn)