Sandra Pierce is at the center of a political dogfight in one of the most troubled U.S. cities — and that's her night job.

Pierce, recently hired to lead FirstMerit's (FMER) expansion into Michigan, is spending her off time as chair of the financial advisory board for the city of Detroit. Its task is monumental: getting the city's chronically in-the-red budget under control, while promoting a new image.

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