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Former Royal Oak Mayor Appointed to Examine Finances of Highland Park

Dennis Cowan has been appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder to a financial review team.

Dennis Cowan s a partner with the Plunkett Cooney law firm. Credit: Plunkett Cooney
Dennis Cowan s a partner with the Plunkett Cooney law firm. Credit: Plunkett Cooney

Gov. Rick Snyder appointed Dennis Cowan, of Royal Oak, to a financial review team this week to examine the finances of the City of Highland Park after a Department of Treasury’s preliminary review found numerous violations.

Cowan, nominated by House Speaker Jase Bolger, is a partner with the Plunkett Cooney law firm where he is a member of the firm’s Real Estate and Environment, Energy, and Resources practice groups. 

Cowan also served on the Royal Oak City Commission for 14 years, including four terms as mayor. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts/Boston and a law degree from the Detroit College of Law. 

Cowan and others on the team will review the following conditions, according to a press release from the Department of Treasury:

  • Highland Park has violated requirements of the Uniform Budgeting and Accounting Act, allowing four activities in its fiscal year 2012 General Fund which went over budget, with transfers out being the largest at $491,161.
  • The city is in breach of its obligations under an approved deficit elimination plan (DEP), filed in 2009.
  • The city’s proposed DEP for FY 2012 has not been approved, because it would not eliminate the deficit within five years.
  • The city has ended a fiscal year in a deficit condition in one or more funds since at least 2008.
  • The city’s Water and Sewer Fund has had operating losses since 2008, which have impacted cash flows and undermined the city’s ability to pay its bills. 

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