Bing: Unpaid furloughs if Detroit needs to offset shortfall - FOX 32 News Chicago

Bing: Unpaid furloughs if Detroit needs to offset shortfall

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Detroit Mayor Dave Bing at the news conference on Wednesday  (Credit: Fox 2 News) Detroit Mayor Dave Bing at the news conference on Wednesday (Credit: Fox 2 News)

By Amy Lange
Fox 2 News Reporter


DETROIT (WJBK) -- "Very much frustrated, very much frustrated," said Mayor Dave Bing talking about city council.

On Tuesday, they voted down a $300,000 contract for law firm Miller Canfield to represent the mayor -- part of the milestone agreement that had to be approved in order for the state to give the city $10 million that's being held in escrow.

Another $20 million December payment is in jeopardy, meaning an anticipated $30-million shortfall for the city.

"The city will begin to institute unpaid furloughs and other cost saving actions effective January first," Bing told reporters at a news conference Wednesday.

Bing said public safety will not be impacted and that they're still determining what departments could be affected, but there will be no payless paydays, no bankruptcy, and hopefully there will be an agreement so the city can get its money.

"I'm open-minded, but at the same token the state is holding the cards at this point," said Bing.

While the administration said they're hopeful this can all be worked out, Council President Pro Tem Gary Brown told us he's certain that it can be.

"The votes are there if he's willing to make some slight modifications to the contract.  The votes are there, so he has to either make a decision to come and work the council and get the five votes or pick another law firm."

Bing said he's not willing to do that.

"I'm not going to be dictated to by council or anybody else who I use as my legal representative."

Labor lawyer Richard Mack said Bing's use of Miller Canfield for the last several months is a clear violation of the city charter and to continue using this law firm, instrumental in drafting the emergency manager law and the financial stability agreement, is a clear conflict of interest.

"Mr. Dillon, I think you need to come to Detroit and explain what's so important about this one contract that you're willing to let Detroit go bankrupt.  That's a problem for me."

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