Detroit mayor still in hospital as city financial deadline nears

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 23, 2012 6:28 PM
Detroit mayor still in hospital as city financial deadline nears

DETROIT (Reuters) - Detroit Mayor Dave Bing was diagnosed with inflammation of the intestine and will remain at a hospital for further observation, just days before the struggling city faces a key financial deadline, the mayor's office said in a statement on Friday.

Monday is the deadline for a panel created by the state of Michigan to recommend what to do to fix Detroit's dire financial situation. The city and the state have been negotiating to try to stave off the appointment of an emergency manager for the nearly-bankrupt city.

Bing's Chief of Staff Kirk Lewis said in a statement that he spoke to Bing late Friday afternoon and he was "upbeat." The inflammation is "a commonly diagnosed condition affecting more than half of Americans over 60 years old," Lewis said.

Bing, 68, was admitted to Detroit's Henry Ford Hospital on Thursday due to "discomfort" after an early morning dentist appointment. He spent the night in observation.

Bing, a former professional basketball player who was elected mayor in 2009, is under intense pressure from Michigan's governor to cut costs and craft a restructuring plan for the city before it runs out of money this spring.

Although U.S. automakers are thriving after their near-collapse in 2009, Detroit is still saddled with a crippling debt load. Population decline, widespread housing foreclosures and a shrinking business community have depleted Detroit's tax base.

A review team appointed by Governor Rick Snyder concluded on Wednesday the city is in severe financial stress. On Friday, a coalition of labor unions said they accepted pay cuts and other concessions to save the city $68 million a year.

(Reporting By Deepa Seetharaman; Editing by Greg McCune)