Detroit City Employee: “I Borrow Money to Buy Food.”
“I borrow money right now to buy food,” says Jackita Muhammad, a teller in the city’s finance department. “I try to buy beans and other staples so I don’t have to ask family for money, but the truth is that if the mayor cuts my pay, I will have to declare bankruptcy.”
Muhammad, a single mother of three, has been employed with the city since the year 2000. Ironically, during the day she handles thousands of dollars in checks and money that people come to her window with and pay for taxes and other costs.
Her plight, though precarious, is not unusual for people working full time in Detroit. AFSCME workers make less than $30,000 a year on average and represent less than 40 percent of the city’s payroll budget. The mayor’s pay cut will make many of them qualified for welfare benefits even though they work full time.
“It’s simply not fair,” says Muhammad.