Hamtramck hires new city manager; still no agreement on staving off payless paydays for city workers

HAMTRAMCK, Mich. (WXYZ) -  

The city council voted to approve the hiring of a new city manager, but there is still no agreement in place to stave off payless paydays for all city workers.

A state treasury official, who attended Tuesday night's meeting, told the council the state could advance Hamtramck a revenue sharing check and offer them tax anticipation notes. Both would require a review of the city's finances. No vote was taken on either of those plans until discussions are had with the new city manager.

WATCH A HEATED EXCHANGE BETWEEN THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL MEMBERS IN THE PLAYER ON THE LEFT

Hamtramck is short $2.5-million for this fiscal year. And for the next fiscal year beginning in June the city faces an even bigger cash shortfall of $3.5-million.

The city's budget turmoil shocked city workers. Two weeks ago the now-fired city manager, William Cooper, circulated a memo warning all city staffers they may not get paid starting as early as late March if officials could not close the budget deficit. In the memo Cooper blamed the closing of the American Axle plant, plummeting property tax revenues and soaring healthcare costs for the sudden crisis.

Last week in a bitterly divided vote the council fired Cooper and left the position open. At Tuesday's meeting the vote was divided once again - with some council members crying foul over the hiring of Erik Tungate as the new city manger. One council member accused her colleagues of picking Tungate because of his political ties.

Tungate told Action News all options are on the table to quickly close the deficit and avoid payless paydays. When asked if Tungate would eliminate police or fire services to make Hamtramck solvent, Tungate said he hoped to avoid that kind of drastic scenario.

An emergency council meeting could be held in the coming days to vote on a short-term plan so the city can make payroll.

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