Tentative agreement in mediation could help Detroit sail through bankruptcy

(WXYZ) - Sources are confirming to 7 Action News that Detroit has reached a tentative agreement with one group of Detroit retirees. 

Trustees of Retired Detroit Police and Firefighters Association will take a ratification vote on the deal on Tuesday. 

Sources say they have new cost of living adjustments in pensions, more money for retiree health care and softer pension cuts after marathon closed-door talks over the weekend.  If the deal is ratified, the group would endorse Detroit's plan of adjustment in bankruptcy and it would give the city more leverage in a cram down of terms in court this summer.

But sources are also telling 7 Action News that brothers and sisters in the police and fire ranks are not happy and may show up in protest at the ratification.  Mediation is under federal bankruptcy court and talks are supposed to be confidential.

Other bargaining groups including the Police and Fire Pension System, General Retirement System and the Official Retirees Committee have not reached tentative agreements.  No new talks are scheduled.  Some sources say the Detroit retirees groups that did reach an agreement "left money on the table" that these sources say "will be used to help soften cuts in the General Retirement System." 

About 23,500 Detroit retirees and 9,000 active employees are hanging in the balance. Detroit will be mailing ballots to them to vote yes or no on the plan of adjustment on May 1.  A court hearing on the plan of adjustment is set for Thursday.  Detroit filed for Bankruptcy last year with a debt of $18 billion dollars. 

In another development, talks to turn the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department into a regional authority have broken off.  A statement from Oakland County officials says Detroit's Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr did not negotiate in good faith because he would not provide financial documents and access to DWSD officials to access costs of upgrades needed in the system and how much it would cost customers in the suburbs.

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