Gov. Rick Snyder (Dale G. Young / Detroit News)
Detroit — Labor union attorneys agreed Monday not to ask Gov. Rick Snyder and two top aides for the names of the Detroit emergency manager candidates during sworn depositions later this week.
The Attorney General’s office sought to block disclosure of the other people Snyder considered for the job, citing confidentiality agreements and political considerations.
Snyder is to be deposed under oath Wednesday in Detroit’s bankruptcy case, followed by depositions scheduled Thursday for state Treasurer Andy Dillon and Rich Baird, an aide to the governor.
In a court filing late Monday, attorneys for city retirees, the United Auto Workers and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees agreed not to ask Snyder, Dillon and Baird the names of the other candidates and accepted the state’s stipulation that documents containing their names be redacted.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes on Monday scheduled a hearing today on the matter.
Under the proposed agreement, which was signed by attorneys for the union and the Snyder administration, the UAW and a group of retirees reserve the right to seek a court order at a later date to force disclosure of the emergency manager candidates’ names. The state reserved its right to oppose such a move.
The union and retirees want to be able to contact the candidates to “interview as potential eligibility trial witnesses,” according to a proposed court order filed late Monday.
Unions and retiree groups opposed to Detroit’s eligibility for bankruptcy protection are deposing Snyder, Dillon and Baird with hopes of proving the Snyder administration planned to take Detroit to bankruptcy court months before Kevyn Orr was appointed emergency manager in March.
One of the requirements for Detroit to be eligible for Chapter 9 bankruptcy is proving Orr negotiated with creditors in good faith before the July 18 filing.
In the court filing late Friday, Special Assistant Attorney General Dawn Copley argued the names of the EM candidates are irrelevant and that disclosure could cause embarrassment and violate those candidates’ privacy and assurances from Snyder’s office that their names would be kept confidential. The state’s court filing revealed that some of the candidates are elected officials “whose re-electability could be affected by disclosure of their identities.”
The Attorney General’s office has said the state is willing to reveal the names of the emergency manager candidates to Rhodes so he can decide if their identities are relevant. The state also offered to release information about the candidates’ qualifications and backgrounds.
Union activist Robert Davis, an employee of AFSCME, unsuccessfully sought the identity of the emergency manager candidates this summer. The Michigan Court of Appeals blocked Davis’ efforts to force Baird to disclose the names in a lawsuit challenging the validity of Orr’s appointment.
Rhodes also is holding an evidentiary hearing today over a request from the mother of a slain Detroit police officer to pursue a liability lawsuit against the city.
Staff Writer Robert Snell contributed.