Friday, April 27, 2012

Mayor Bing Takes Advantage of "Take Out the Trash Day"

Mayor Dave Bing has named Eddie Munson and Sandra Pierce as his two appointees to the Financial Advisory Board, required under the Financial Stability Agreement between the State of Michigan and the City of Detroit. These are the only two individuals that Mayor Bing will be able to appoint under the agreement. While both of them have impeccable credentials, neither of them live in Detroit.

Stock Photo by Glenn Pebley
It should not be surprising, therefore, that these appointments were announced at 3 p.m. on a Friday afternoon. Friday is sometimes referred to as "Take Out the Trash Day" in political circles. More on that below.

As I mentioned above, both Mr. Munson and Ms. Pierce have impeccable financial credentials.

Mr. Munson is a certified public accountant and a former partner at KPMG LLP with more than 30 years of public and private sector auditing experience. A native of Mississippi who lives in Rochester Hills, Munson is the retired director of Caraco Pharmaceutical Laboratories Ltd. Munson, who earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Jackson State University, was the managing partner of the KPMG Detroit office from January 1993 to September 2003. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Skillman Foundation.

Ms. Pierce, president and chief executive officer of Charter One, Michigan, is a Detroit native, who lives in Northville. A 1980 graduate of Wayne State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Pierce also earned a Masters of Business Administration degree in Finance from Wayne State University in 1984. She’s held several roles in commercial banking, retail banking, and marketing at NBD, First Chicago NBD, Bank One, and JP Morgan Chase. Pierce was named Charter One president and CEO in 2005. In 2010, Pierce was named to the Detroit Public Schools Bond Advisory and Fiscal Responsibility Committee to oversee the DPS $500.5 million facilities program.

Mayor Bing, Governor Rick Snyder, and state Treasurer Andy Dillon announced the first three appointees to the FAB last week, none of whom were Detroit residents. These previous appointments included former state Treasurer Robert Bowman, the jointly named appointee by Mayor Bing and Gov. Snyder. The Detroit City Council is required to approve Bowman’s, Munson’s, and Pierce’s appointments.

The Financial Stability Agreement requires FAB members to have at least 10 years of experience with municipal financial transactions, complex, multidimensional governmental restructurings, governmental labor relations, health care benefits or pension matters, or local government management. Appointees have also had their qualifications confirmed by the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants or the Michigan Government Finance Officers Association.

Those are, of course, strong requirements. However, I'm confident that, if Mayor Bing and Governor Snyder had searched, they could have found at least one or two Detroit residents for those appointments. The fact that they chose not to is, in my opinion, troubling. It will likely serve as bone of contention in the months to come, which we really do not need.

As for the trend to announce unpopular news at 3 p.m. on a Friday afternoon, the reasons for doing then as well as why it's sometimes called "Taking Out the Trash Day" are explained beautifully here.
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