By Matt Helms, Detroit Free Press
The Detroit City Council made good on its pledge to move forward on the city's consent agreement with the state, approving three key positions on a nine-member financial advisory board that will have major sway over the city's budgets.
On Thursday, the council approved former state Treasurer Robert Bowman as the joint appointee of Mayor Dave Bing and Gov. Rick Snyder, as well as the council's two selections for the board.
Bowman of Harbor Springs leads the web operations of Major League Baseball. The council's approval was required before he was officially seated.
W. Howard Morris of Detroit, president and chief investment officer of Prairie & Tireman in Detroit, was the highest vote-getter among the council's candidates.
Also approved was Mary Beth Kuderik of Birmingham, chief financial officer of the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust.
Under the consent agreement, Snyder picks three members of the board; Bing, two; council, two; Treasurer Andy Dillon, one, and a final joint pick by Bing and Snyder.
The selections filled out the board just a day before its first meeting, at 2 p.m. today at Wayne State University's McGregor Memorial Conference Center.
Six council members attended Thursday's session. Three who voted against the consent agreement -- JoAnn Watson, Brenda Jones and Kwame Kenyatta -- were absent.
Council President Charles Pugh said the three are refusing on principle to move forward with the agreement because they oppose it and Public Act 4, the state law that allows the appointment of emergency managers in cities in financial crisis.
Pugh said he supported their right to sit out in protest.
"They voted no, so why now cooperate with the process?" Pugh said.
"I understand that, but there are enough of us who do support the agreement, and the fact that we're not in emergency management, and that there was really not another option."
On Wednesday, Bing named Oakland County energy executive William (Kriss) Andrews as his final appointee under the consent agreement. Andrews, 60, of Novi will serve as program management director, responsible for implementing fiscal and operational changes and city government reorganization.
In an earlier council meeting Thursday morning, Kenyatta questioned why Bing chose an executive of a company that went bankrupt, Auburn Hills-based Energy Conversion Devices. Andrews is executive vice president and chief financial officer there.
It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February.
Council President Pro Tem Gary Brown defended Andrews as a capable and skilled executive.
Brown said the reason for the company's bankruptcy is more about it being in a volatile industry, manufacturing and selling thin-film laminates that convert sunlight to energy, than about any role Andrews may have played.
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