Bankruptcy’s Best Lead: A report from Lansing hearings

Bankruptcy’s Best Lead: A report from Lansing hearings

The Detroit Free Press’s Kathleen Gray and Paul Egan, in covering committee hearings on the bills related to financing and overseeing Detroit post-bankruptcy, bring the best opening sentence of a news story I’ve seen in a long time:

LANSING — Michigan lawmakers saw the real face of Detroit’s bankruptcy Thursday — and it was angry and confused.


The reporting was from a meeting of the special House Committee on Detroit’s Recovery and Michigan’s Future that heard testimony this week about the package of bills that would provide money and oversight to Detroit as it emerges from bankruptcy. The measures are necessary for the “grand bargain” and are included in the city’s Plan of Adjustment.

On Tuesday, Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr testified and walked lawmakers through a presentation about the city’s finances to help make his case. Here is a link to his presentation.

On Wednesday, Detroit Chamber CEO Sandy Baruah spoke, urging lawmakers to help Detroit because it would be good for the state’s economy. Other testimony came from Nick Ciaramitaro, director of legislation and public policy for AFSCME Council 25, which represents about 2,000 of Detroit’s 9,000 city employees. But Ciaramitaro said the new legislation and the most recent Plan of Adjustment conflict with the contract agreement, which means AFSCME can’t support the legislation nor the plan as they are currently written.

Then, on Thursday,  came the retirees.

“You’re going to see thousands of pensioners not having health care. Long term, they’re going to lose everything,” said Keith Davis, a retiree who worked for the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department for 31 years. “Thousands of pensioners will have to go on food stamps who can’t afford food anymore. You’re going to see a lot of people give up hope.”

Another committee hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.