Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Detroit City Council Rejects EMA Contract, Plan to Downsize DWSD. What's next?

Last week, the Detroit City Council took no action on a $48 million contract with EMA, the consultant behind a controversial plan to reduce DWSD's workforce by some 81%. 

Earlier today, the Detroit City Council took action, but voted to reject the EMA contract outright and along with it DWSD's restructuring plan. The Detroit Free Press reports (here) that the City Council vote was unanimous. Council member Ken Cockrel Jr. cited the EPA's October 12, 2012 request for 45 days to review the EMA plan as a key reason to delay approval. 
“Those 45 days have not elapsed yet," Cockrel said. "We have not heard from the EPA. They have not indicated that they have no concerns. And I think when you have a federal agency that’s in charge of regulating environmental concerns for the country…I think we ought to give them the time to do it.” (Cite: Michigan Radio 
The Board of Water Commissioners, anticipating this outcome, last week voted to proceed with EMA under a $2.0 million stopgap contract. This is only a temporary solution. 

Comment: So what's next? Will the Water Board acquiesce (uh, not likely) or proceed with (24) consecutive $2 million contracts, each one just small enough to avoid a City Council vote? (Possibly) Or will Judge Cox resort to "more drastic measures" as he has alluded to in several of his rulings this past year? (What will that look like?)  And is this any way to run a public utility, one that serves 4.3 million people? Really?  

For more about DWSD Update, click here.     

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