Emotions run high at emergency manager town hall meeting in Detroit

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Emotions ran high as hundreds gathered at the Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church on the city's west side to sound off against an emergency manager takeover of Detroit.

The headliner at the town hall meeting was Congressman John Conyers, who told the packed house he would use his close relationship with the White House to stop the installation of an EM.

"It just so happens that I have a closer relationship with the 44th President of the United States and his Attorney General, Eric Holder, than I have ever had with anybody in the Washington White House," Conyers told the crowd.

Councilwoman JoAnn Watson helped organize the event, which also featured a number of civil rights activists, including the leader of the NAACP in Benton Harbor – a city taken over by an emergency manager.

"You don't want an EFM or an EM, because they're hard to get rid of," said Reverend Edward Pinckney, who leads the NAACP in Benton Harbor.

Detroit is facing a fiscal year budget shortfall of 45-million dollars and could run out of cash by April. An audit showed the city could even miss payroll if major changes aren't made soon.

Governor Snyder has repeatedly said he does not want to assign an emergency manager to Detroit, but he has moved to phase two of the process. Last week his office announced the appointment of a ten-member panel to review the city's balance sheet. They have 60 days to issue a report. At that time the governor could install an emergency manager.

During the 60-day window city leaders can still come up with a deal with each other and Detroit's labor unions to close the budget gap. Any compromise would likely include hundreds of lay-offs and cuts to benefits and pensions, both for current workers and retirees.

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