Detroit Financial Advisory Board meets for the first time, members call challenges "tough"

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Detroit Mayor Dave Bing welcomed the expertise and advice of members of the City's new Financial Advisory Board at their initial meeting Friday. And the Mayor listed public safety, lighting, public transportation and recreation centers as the priorities that need their attention.

In their presentation to the Financial Advisory Board, city officials talked about focusing on core services, including police, fire, EMS, public lighting and garbage collection.

"Non-core departments" listed for elimination or consolidation include Workforce Development, Health & Wellness, Human Services and City Airport.

State Treasurer Andy Dillon told board members that city leaders will set the priorities, but he emphasized the need for the new board to work on labor agreements.

When asked about the job of helping to turn Detroit around, board member Glenda Price told reporters, "There are no issues that are too difficult to tackle. There are very difficult issues. Major challenges, but that's why we're here."

In talking about his fellow board members, Ken Whipple said, "It's a group that doesn't have any separate agenda. None of us are running for election. None of us need this job. None of us is bucking for a promotion. We are only concerned with accelerating the city's progress toward stability and that's it. And we all love Detroit."

The meeting, held at Wayne State University's McGregor Center, was open to the public. But when the time came for public comment no one stood up to address the board.

The nine-member board is required under the Financial Stability Agreement reached between the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan. Members are expected to meet, at least, once a month.

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