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Council silent on Detroit financial report at community meeting

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Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh flanked by other council members at Tuesday night's community meeting  (Credit: Fox 2 News) Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh flanked by other council members at Tuesday night's community meeting (Credit: Fox 2 News)
DETROIT (WJBK) -

Residents asked Detroit City Council members what they think about the Financial Review Team's report Tuesday night, but the council did not want to talk about it.

The community meeting began like any other.  It was as if Treasurer Andy Dillon had not just held a press conference announcing what so many expected, that Detroit was facing financial ruin and that its city leaders did not have the ability to fix it paving the way for an emergency manager.

The council as a whole never brought it up, but some Detroiters did.

"If the emergency manager's got to come in, let him come on in because Bobby Bland says 'you've got to hurt before you heal,'" said one.

"We're going to have a financial manager and with that in mind, what would be the status of the council?" another asked.

Here is the answer they got despite the fact that city council members have been talking about an EM and fighting against one for months.

"I think it would be premature to answer the questions," said council member Saunteel Jenkins.

The council's silence speaks volumes.

"As you heard during the meeting, Detroiters want to know what this means for them.  What will their council look like?  What will their responsibilities be?  What do you say to those people who are asking some serious questions tonight?" I asked council member James Tate.

"I have the same questions.  I think people forget I'm a resident, as well," he answered.

That is probably the most honest answer of all because just like the city they serve, Detroit City Council members are at a crossroads and their power and positions are far from certain.

"What are some of the questions you're asking yourself right now?" I asked Jenkins.

"I'm just waiting to see what's going to happen," she said.  "I'm just interested in, first of all, reading the entire report, secondly, hearing the governor's... response to the report."

Sources told me that the governor's office and treasurer's office have contacted council members to let them know they want them to be involved in the restructuring of Detroit.

It's expected the governor will make a decision on an emergency manager before March 27.

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