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The Associated Press April 19, 2012, 3:15PM ET

3 people join board to look at Detroit finances

Three business leaders -- including Michigan's former state treasurer -- have been appointed to an advisory board that will monitor Detroit's budget and fiscal turnaround, the governor's office announced Thursday.

Robert Bowman, Darrell Burks and Ken Whipple are the first of nine appointees called for under an agreement between Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and Gov. Rick Snyder. The agreement reached earlier this month kept cash-strapped Detroit from being placed under the control of an emergency manager.

Bowman was treasurer in the 1980s under Gov. James Blanchard. He is president and chief executive of Major League Baseball Advanced Media.

Burks is a specialist in business risk and internal control matters and is a partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers. Whipple, chairman of Korn/Ferry International, was an executive at Consumers Energy and Ford Motor.

The advisory board will monitor how the city manages its limited resources and report back to the state. It also will make recommendations to the mayor and help the city in preparing its 3-year budget.

"The financial advisory board will play a critical role in guiding the reinvention of Detroit," Snyder said. "Each of these appointees is committed to the future of the city and our state, and I thank each of them for their willingness to step forward and serve."

Detroit has an accumulated budget deficit of $265 million and $13.2 billion in long-term, structural debt.

A state-appointed review team determined last month that the city was in a severe financial stress and recommended that Detroit operate under an agreement with Snyder's office. Under terms of that deal specific reforms must be made, financial reporting deadlines have to be met and realistic revenue projections made.

The financial advisory board would determine if failure to meet aspects of the agreement constitutes a breach of the deal. A breach could result in, among other things, the withholding of state revenue sharing and the treasurer's office placing Detroit in receivership.

"Given the roles and responsibilities of the financial advisory board, as outlined in the agreement, it is important to have financial and program expertise from a variety of business sectors," Treasurer Andy Dillon said. "Bob Bowman, Darrell Burks, and Ken Whipple provide an exceptional base for the eventual makeup of the advisory board."

Board members are required to have at least 10 years of experience and have their qualifications confirmed by the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants or the Michigan Government Finance Officers Association. They will receive $25,000 in annual compensation.

Bowman was jointly appointed by Bing and Snyder. Burks is a Snyder appointee, while Whipple was appointed by Dillon.

Snyder, Bing and the Detroit City Council each will pick two additional board members.

"These are important appointments which set the tone for the caliber of people and the type of collaboration that is essential to the transformation of Detroit," Bing said.

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