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City Council approves appointment of Jay Rising as Detroit's CFO

The Detroit News

Detroit — City Council on Tuesday authorized the appointment of former state treasurer Jay Rising as the city's chief financial officer.

Rising, who has served under three Michigan governors as treasurer, deputy treasurer and an advisor, had been serving as Detroit's acting CFO since January. He replaced Dave Massaron who left the city to serve as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's state budget director. 

Jay Rising

Rising formerly served as Whitmer's cabinet secretary and took the reins in Detroit's Office of the Chief Financial Officer amid multiple budgeting adjustments to cope with more than $410 million in funding shortfalls prompted by the COVID-19 crisis.

Mayor Mike Duggan on May 13 submitted his appointment of Rising as the permanent CFO to council members. Rising will continue to earn $191,000 annually. 

Rising's formal appointment to the post comes as the city on Tuesday will hold the first of 25 meetings over 25 days to solicit feedback from the public on how Detroit should spend its first batch of more than $400 million in federal coronavirus relief dollars.

Rising has noted there are four eligible categories for the funding: responding to public health emergencies with assistance to households, nonprofits and industries; premium pay; water and sewer infrastructure; and for governmental services to address Detroit's COVID-19-induced revenue reductions. The money can't be used to bolster the city's pension funds.

The cumulative impact of the pandemic into 2024 on the general fund could reach $600 million, Rising has said. 

Under the terms of the state's Financial Review Commission, a permanent CFO must be approved by City Council within six months of a vacancy. 

From 2006-15, Rising helped guide the Detroit Medical Center back to financial stability after it neared bankruptcy and the threat of closure of several of its flagship hospitals in 2012. 

Rising was DMC's CFO until 2013 and remained with the medical system in various leadership positions until 2015. 

Rising was one of former Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm's first appointees, serving as state treasurer from 2003-06. Under his leadership, the treasury department streamlined tax processing and implemented a $1 billion investment fund aimed at diversifying Michigan's economy. In his capacity as treasurer, Rising also served as the sole fiduciary for the $50 billion public employee retiree pension fund, Detroit officials have noted.  

Earlier in his career, Rising served as deputy state treasurer under Democratic Gov. James Blanchard from 1983-91 and helped create the Michigan Educational Trust college scholarship program.