Thursday, July 31, 2014

Detroit Emergency Manager Drops Proposal for Bankruptcy 'Plan Monitor'
Detroit Freedom Friday marching around Campus Martius.
Robert Snell
The Detroit News

PANW Editor: This article suggests that the proposed "monitor" for the City of Detroit exiting bankruptcy may not be necessary since the provisions within the legislative "Grand Theft Bargain" is adequate for keeping the majority African American municipality under the control of outside forces within the state bureaucracy that would ensure payment to the banks and corporations for their irrational and exploitative policies. At present with a pro-business, blue dog Democrat mayor they feel this will be enough to keep people under control.

It does not matter if an official is "democratically elected" or not if the program they pursue is in contravention to the interests of the people who are victimized by the wholesale dismemberment of the city and the selling off of its assets such as the Detroit Water & Sewerage Dept., the Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Public Lighting, Belle Isle and the stealing of the deferred wages of workers, i.e, their pensions and healthcare programs.

Was it not the City Council which voted in favor of a 8.7 percent hike in water rates right before the issue of shut-offs became a national and international exposure of the real agenda of emergency management? What has the City Council and the Mayor said in defense of the hundreds of thousands terrorized by the water shutoffs, healthcare eliminations and pension thefts?

Making it appear as if the dictator Orr and his director Rick Snyder are relinquishing "authority" to Mike Duggan is part of the overall scheme for the continued de facto emergency management of Detroit. None of these hired agents of the capitalist system have any history of doing anything in the interests of working people and the nationally oppressed masses of African Americans.

We are sure that there will be more of such announcements in the coming weeks. However, what people must stay focused on is the economic and political program of those who are purportedly being handed "power." Real power must be won through struggle and will not be given to those who say they represent the people, when in fact they represent the same interests as Orr and Snyder.

Abayomi Azikiwe
The city dropped plans late Tuesday to install a court-appointed official to oversee compliance with Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr's plan to shed more than $7 billion in debt.

The so-called “plan monitor” was eliminated from an updated version of Detroit’s debt-cutting plan filed Tuesday in bankruptcy court. The position was scrubbed because it was unnecessarily given financial oversight and other provisions included in legislation governing the “grand bargain” — a $660.8 million plan to soften pension cuts and shield the Detroit Institute of Arts collection from creditors.

“After discussing it with the mayor and with the state of Michigan, the emergency manager (Kevyn Orr) determined such a monitor would have been superfluous to the financial oversight and reporting requirements already required as part of the 'Grand Bargain' legislation that was signed into law,” city spokesman Bill Nowling said Wednesday. “The plan monitor idea came from discussions that occurred before the Grand Bargain legislation passed.”

The move came five days after the city’s bankruptcy team first publicly revealed the proposal, which would have left Detroit under prolonged and apparently unprecedented court oversight.

The plan monitor idea was a response to concerns raised by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes. The post-bankruptcy monitoring proposal was included originally to give Rhodes an option for long-term oversight.

The monitor, appointed by Rhodes, would have filed quarterly reports with the court and have power to subpoena records and answers from the mayor, City Council, pension fund trustees and officials overseeing health-care trusts.

Orr's legal team proposed the monitor as being a neutral expert skilled in restructuring, accounting, municipal finance and budgeting, preferably for municipalities with "annual revenues of $250 million or more," according to the filing.

Several types were excluded from consideration: "The plan monitor shall not be an appointed or elected official of any governmental unit currently serving in such capacity and shall not be a former appointed or elected official of the city or the state."

That would seemingly eliminate Orr, a Washington, D.C., bankruptcy expert, who was appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder in March 2013 to takeover the city.

Aside from the monitor, city officials also would be under the scrutiny of a new nine-member Financial Review Commission the Legislature established last month as a string attached to $195 million in state aid for city pensions.

The commission, which will be dominated by state government appointees, will have veto power over city contracts exceeding $750,000 and could remain active for at least the first three years after Detroit exits bankruptcy. Under the new oversight law, if Detroit can meet certain financial benchmarks, the commission would go away after a 10-year period of dormancy.

From The Detroit News:

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