Detroit's program manager talks cooperation - New York News

Detroit's program manager talks cooperation

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DETROIT (WJBK) -

"We are very dedicated to working with the City Council. The mayor's dedicated to working with the City Council, and I think that they're dedicated to working with us," Kriss Andrews said Thursday.

Detroit's new program management director was talking cooperation just a week after overriding the City Council's no vote on work rule changes and a 10 percent wage cut for the city's union employees, workers who are still smarting and maybe council members, too.

"It's always better to get the council in on the front end if you expect to get their approval as to bringing it the day before a vote and presenting it to us, and then we had absolutely no input," said Council President Pro Tem Gary Brown. "I'm asking the administration to be more forthcoming with these documents."

Brown is asking the administration and Financial Advisory Board for more access and greater input into the plan to turn the city around.

"If we don't get the city financially stable, it's very difficult to accomplish any other objective," Andrews said. "I'm never going to say financial stability is job one, but we have to accomplish it so we can do all the things that a city is supposed to do."

A city that could run out of cash again by October.

"If we work with all the constituencies on the other initiatives, we'll be able to get the cash flow stable on a longer term basis. Now if everything goes south, we've got a problem in October, but we don't believe everything's going to go south, and we're dedicated to making sure that doesn't happen," said Andrews. "In reality, people are closer together than sometimes it appears in the news media, and I think we're going to be able to bring the leaders of the city together and move forward constructively."

Andrews' career has included leading automotive suppliers through turnarounds and, more recently, a solar company into bankruptcy. Keeping Detroit out of that situation is his priority.

"We're dedicated to not having the situation that's played out in California and Pennsylvania and other cities in Michigan where there are very dire consequences when people don't get out ahead of the problem, so we're trying to get ahead of the problems."

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