Judge temporarily blocks elimination of 3 Detroit departments - New York News

Elimination of 3 Detroit departments blocked, at least temporarily

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Richard Mack is an attorney for the AFSCME union.  (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com) Richard Mack is an attorney for the AFSCME union. (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com)
DETROIT (WJBK) -

"I enjoy working with people.  I enjoy being able to help the citizens of Detroit," said Gina Thompson-Mitchell.

For the past 25 years, she has worked for Detroit's Department of Human Services helping people find jobs, and now she's the one searching for work.  The city is eliminating the Department of Human Services, the Health Department and the Department of Workforce Development, outsourcing the work and laying off hundreds all in an effort to balance the budget, a move she says makes no sense.

"If the general fund is what is adding to the deficit for the City of Detroit, how are we impacting that deficit?"

"Our salaries, our fringes are all written into the grants."

Grants funded by the state and the feds, and now AFSCME is taking this battle to court claiming the city went about this all wrong.

"Here you have the situation where 200 plus employees are losing their jobs except for the highest level management gets to keep work, six figure jobs by the way.  I just think it's deplorable," said AFSCME attorney Richard Mack.

The lawsuit points to what's happening in the Health Department as the most outrageous.

While employees at the Health Department are being laid off, the director of the Health Department, Loretta Davis, is moving the business to a new agency, an agency run by Loretta Davis.

"What about the workers?  It seems kind of self serving to me," Thompson-Mitchell remarked.

All of it's laid out in the lawsuit.  Monday, a Wayne County circuit judge issued a temporary restraining order barring the city from taking any further action before a hearing next Friday.  The judge's order buys Thompson-Mitchell another week on the job.  She's a Detroit, so she knows the city has got to get back to providing basics.

"I want to see the lights on all over the city.  I want to see more police presence."

But she and her union say eliminating her job isn't the way to do it.

"We have to be concerned about the everyday people."

"We hope that Mayor Bing, like he said he was going to do, puts people in place and holds people accountable so that we can continue to manage these resources in the right way, but we ought to keep that management here in the city," Mack said.

We contacted the mayor's office for a response to the concerns raised in this lawsuit, but we were told the mayor would not comment on this until attorneys get a chance to review the judge's order.

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