Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says bonuses sent to employees were a 'mistake'

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Detroit Mayor Dave Bing vows to end longevity bonuses for all city employees as the financial crisis continues. 

Mayor Bing says it was a "mistake" that bonus checks were sent out to some employees. 

When asked by 7 Action News, Mayor Bing would not say if the city would move to take the money back.

The mayor's office late Thursday issued a statement that says:

"He {Bing} remains committed to ending longevity bonus payments for City employees while the City remains in financial stress."

The statement goes on to say 697 union and 451 non-union employees received the bonus checks. It also says the administration brought a resolution to City Council this summer and it was rejected. A second attempt was approved in September but an ordinance amendment to discontinue payments for non-union employees will go back to council in January.

The statement blames no person for the "mistake" but quotes the Mayor as saying "One of my frustrations is that the City processes are antiquated and the length of time needed to bring about change is often inefficient and counterproductive."

Ed McNeil of AFSCME Council 25, who represents union workers in all departments, called the mayor and his top aides "incompetent." City employees are facing layoffs and unpaid furlough days on top of previous pay cuts during the financial crisis.

The amounts of the checks to employees range between $150 to $750 depending on years of service with the city.

Detroit faces an estimated shortfall of more than $100 million and the state is conducting a 30-day review that most believe will lead to a state takeover of Michigan's largest city by the end of January.

The Mayor and top aides met with State Treasurer Andy Dillon Thursday to go over several city budget items that needed to be done by December 14th for the state to release $20 Million dollars in bond money that the city needs to stay solvent. 

The state says the city failed to meet that deadline and the money was not released. The state did release $10 million that was tied to another milestone agreement.

The exact date that Detroit may run out of cash is not known. 

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