Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Friday officially declared Detroit in a fiscal emergency, setting the stage for a state takeover of the city's financial management and ultimately the possibility of the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.
The Republican governor said he agreed with a Feb. 19 report by a six-member team of experts that concluded Michigan's largest city is in dire financial shape and a plan put in place last April to aid Detroit was not sufficiently working.
The expert team Snyder assembled in December did not officially recommend the appointment of an emergency financial manager, leaving that decision up to the governor, pending a possible appeal from Democratic Mayor Dave Bing.
The first-term mayor said Thursday he has thought since taking office in 2009 that some kind of outside help is needed. "I'm more interested, instead of fighting Lansing, in working with them," he said.
Snyder said he had identified a top candidate to be the emergency manager but declined to identify the person.
"I believe it's appropriate to declare the city of Detroit in financial emergency," Snyder said at a forum in Detroit.
Detroit officials now have 10 days to request a hearing with the governor about his determination.
After the hearing or the expiration of the 10 days in the case of no hearing, the governor confirms or revokes his determination. A confirmation will assign management of Detroit's fiscal emergency to a Local Emergency Financial Assistance Loan Board composed of three state officials, including the treasurer, who are all Snyder appointees. That board would also appoint a manager for the city, under the current state law.