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Goodnight Tells Elis of Human Cost of Auto Restructuring

A ruling by a New York bankruptcy judge is putting Kokomo’s mayor in a tough spot. Speaking on WFIU’s “Ask the Mayor,” Greg Goodnight said he is not sure if he would side with Delphi Corporation workers in a possible appeal of a decision allowing the company to eliminate benefits for 15,000 of its current and former workers.

“I’d have to think hard about that, because it’s a catch-22,” Goodnight said. “We obviously want Delphi as a corporation to work its way through this and be a viable part of not just Kokomo but the state’s economy, and the nation’s as well. We understand if this is something they have to do, you hope that there are other ways to cut costs, but we have mixed interests.”

Goodnight said it may sound counter intuitive, but Delphi’s bankruptcy and the judge’s ruling may prove beneficial for Kokomo’s long-term economic health.

“General Motors has shown an interest in bringing Delphi back underneath GM’s blanket,” he said. “There’s a lot of speculation that this may be one of the the first steps to make this attractive to General Motors.”

The mayor recently returned from a trip to Yale University to talk with managment students there about how the auto industry affects Howard County. Goodnight said the students appear split on how to handle the proposed restructuring of the nation’s automakers. Some see the human cost as too big to let the companies fail, while others believe market forces should dictate the futures of GM, Ford and Chrysler.

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