Detroit financial review commission to meet for inaugural meeting tomorrow


  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Gov. Rick Snyder

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder this week named appointees to the state-mandated Financial Review Commission that will oversee significant financial decisions made by the City of Detroit. The board was established as part of the city's bankruptcy-restructuring plan, which was approved last week by a federal judge

And while the imminent exit of Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr has been seen as a positive sign for the city, the commission will maintain serious authority over a number of fiscal matters: among other things, the oversight commission will have the power to review and approve the city’s four-year financial plan, approve or reject all contracts for goods and services worth at least $750,000, and review requests by the city to issue debt. 

“I appreciate the expertise each member brings to this commission, which will play a critical role in partnering to move the city of Detroit forward,” said Snyder, in a statement. “The state, the city, its residents and Southeast Michigan are represented on this commission, which will work collaboratively with local leaders to continue building a brighter future for our largest city.”

As Metro Times previously reported, under the law, the commission will exist for at least 13 years; the city's Financial Advisory Board, created under a 2012 consent agreement with the state, will be dissolved.  

Snyder, who selects a majority five members of the board, appointed: Stacy Fox, former deputy emergency manager of Detroit; Lorron James, vice president of Detroit-based automotive logistics firm James Group International; Bill Martin, former University of Michigan athletic director; Tony Saunders, former emergency manager of Benton Harbor; and Darrell Burks, former senior partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Mandated members under state law that are also on the commission include: state Treasurer Kevin Clinton, who will serve as chairman of the commission; Mayor Mike Duggan, or a designee; City Council President Brenda Jones, or a designee; and state Budget Director John Roberts.

Interestingly, Snyder also named former New York Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch senior financial adviser to the commission, and "special liaison to the state of Michigan," a press release says. It's unclear if Ravitch will be compensated for the position. 

The commission will have to file bi-annual reports to the governor, which will be posted on the Michigan Treasury website. The commission could go dormant after three years if stringent financial requirements have been met by the city. 

The commissions first meeting will be held tomorrow at 9 a.m., at Wayne State University's McGregor Memorial Conference Center, 495 Ferry Mall. It is open to the public. 

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