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Restructuring firm recommends part-time council for Detroit

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Charles Pugh leads a recent Detroit City Council meeting.  A restructuring firm is recommending a part-time council for the city. Charles Pugh leads a recent Detroit City Council meeting. A restructuring firm is recommending a part-time council for the city.

Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh defended the practice of employing a full-time council on Tuesday.  Restructuring firm Conway MacKenzie is recommending a part-time council.

"This is a full-time job," said Pugh.

"I don't see it as a part-time council, but I certainly see ways that we can reduce redundancy, reduce the cost of what it takes to run a full-time council," said Council President Pro Tem Gary Brown.

115 people currently work for council.  Each members has four to eight assistants.  The recommendation is to cut the staff to 37.  That would amount to far fewer staffers than in Mayor Dave Bing's proposal that cuts council's budget from $11 million to $7 million.

"Each council member would have one staff person.  That's not practical," Pugh said.

Plus, there is some concern that council wasn't even consulted before this recommendation was made.

A spokesperson for Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr said don't expect any decisions this week.

Meanwhile, this is only one of many issues before the council.  Some citizens are concerned about a pending contract for more than $3 million with Jones Day.  That is Orr's former law firm.

"What are they here to do?  They're here to reduce our liabilities, to get a haircut from creditors.  That's what they're here to do, and I don't have a problem with it," Brown said.

On Friday, Bing will present his budget to council.  While council will review that budget, ultimately Orr will approve, disapprove or modify it.

"It's business as usual.  Until someone says stop, do something, we're going to just keep moving forward," said Brown.

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