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Monday, April 8, 2013

Managing the EFM / How to defend against the damage of un-accounted decision making

By The Friends of Cushingberry

       Some of you out there are wondering why someone would want the job as a City Council member in Detroit. The word from Lansing is that a City Council is not needed because we have been assigned a new leader from the Governor. Now this new leader can finally attack the pension system without impunity or accountability to anyone but two or three people within State Government.

Former Pension board managers have been charged in Federal Court for bribery, and mismanaging the fund for personal gain. Mayor Kilpatrick borrowed funds during the height of the financial fraud and deceit in the housing and financial markets. The result of their tenure in office was damaging the reputation innocent and caring legislators who represented Detroit in Lansing based on lies and mis-truths. Depending on who the accountant of the day is, the City pension is fully funded or close to being insolvent. Being on the city council will be a challenge, but a challenge that George Cushingberry Jr. will handle if elected to the job.

Like a baseball team that have hacked the signs from the catcher to the pitcher, signs from the first base coach to the runner, every move and counter move has been plotted and planned on by the Management of the Emergency Manager. With help from the Michigan Attorney Generals office, the pension board will be replaced by appointees of the Emergency Manager. The massive attempts to alter, or eliminate costs on the backs of the workers by reducing benefits and services will begin.

Mayors in the State of Michigan are going through the same dilemma with their employees regarding pensions. Cities like Lansing, Allen Park, and others are having the same issue regarding pension funding. Pension systems own land and other assets that can be utilized to manufacture products to compliment the funding of the fund by their employees. To resolve the funding issue, new funding sources must be investigated and implemented so that retirees and current employees can live with quality health care without the worry of being put out in the streets. City employees did not come to work for over 30+ years to give their time and lives to make their work meaningless.

For instance City retiree funds could be used to fix, upgrade, and maintain Belle Isle with upgraded facilities. Just like a senior discount at the fast food places, City retirees and residents would get a discount on services and events on the island. Investments in City assets like Coleman Young International Airport with regional flights to cites in the US and Canada will enhance the fund with increased business is a possible revenue generator.   Another possiblity is investing in Michigan's farmland for the purpose of growing crops of plants that can be manufactured into useful products for sale.

City residents have the power of the ballot initiative to force change on government when the Mayor and City Council cannot make a decision in a timely manner. This is the perfect counter-attack from the people on a rouge State Legislature and City Leadership. The bottom line is that we have to look at ways to maintain and add value to the employee pension system with innovative thoughts and sound planning. Making sure that city retirees don't become sacrificial lambs at the hands of the wolves is my priority. It's time Push change with Cush on the City Council for the rebirth, revitalization, and re-investment into the land that we know as the City of Detroit - Good Stuff on the Internet