Former city workers in Detroit have voted overwhelmingly in favor of the proposed "grand bargain" aimed at minimizing pension cuts and protecting the Detroit Institute of Arts collection from sale to satisfy municipal debts, reports the Detroit Free Press reports.
In separate votes, the results of which were announced Monday, the plan was approved by 82 percent of retired police and firefighters and by 73 percent of civilian pensioners. Private philanthropies have pledged $366-million and the institute $100-million to the $816-million proposal, a linchpin of Detroit's blueprint to emerge from the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.
While other creditors oppose the grand bargain, retirees' strong support lends momentum to the proposal heading into next month's bankruptcy trial, the Free Press writes. If approved, the deal would turn the city-owned art museum over to an independent nonprofit, shielding its works from sale to satisfy city creditors. Civilian pensioners would lose 4.5 percent of their benefits and ex-police and ex-firefighters would see no cuts. Pension reductions could run as high as 27 percent without the plan.