Emergency Manager Law and Detroit

Here is what is causing so much mistrust of the state by the citizens of Detroit as it relates to the emergency manager law and its application to the city.

“…After the hearing or the expiration of the 10 days in the case of no hearing, the governor confirms or revokes his determination. A confirmation will assign management of Detroit’s fiscal emergency to a Local Emergency Financial Assistance Loan Board composed of three state officials, including the treasurer, who are all Snyder appointees….” NBC News, March 1, 2013

This mistrust is exasperated when the Financial Assistance Loan Board is making decisions where both the state and the city have a direct and competing financial interest. The word “Local” is misleading. How can state officials look out for the best interest of the city and the state at the same time when the interest of the two entities may be in conflict?

This will be especially true during the upcoming Governors attempt to be reelected.

Snyder Screwed Up

As smart as Snyder is, he blew the creation and implementation of the Emergency Manager law. He was so successful in his private business career that he ignored important elements of being a leader in a  democracy; keep the citizens informed, citizens have a right to voice their concerns about what he is doing and when he fails to get his way do not trample on those who he represents.

I still believe Snyder is doing what he believes is right for the state and Detroit. What is wrong is how he has gone about trying to achieve what he wants. He still operates as if he is the CEO of a corporation where he handpicked the people he reports to, the Board of Directors. In a corporate entity, the Board tends to rubber stamp everything the CEO does.  This is not the case in a democracy. Citizens have rights including the right to be informed and the right to expect everything their elected leader does is above-board.

I have no doubt Detroit needs an Emergency Manager. Snyder made the mistake of thinking that his new Board of Directors, the voter, would rubber stamp everything he wanted and there was no need for him to waste time informing and convincing voters that it was the right thing to do. As a result of over confidence, his emergency manager law was voted down in 2012. He then scrambled and pushed the law through the legislature in the winter of 2012-2013. Continue reading

Detroit Must Reorganize

The city is not organized properly. An Emergency Manager is overseeing the largest municipal bankruptcy in history and at the same time overseeing the operation of a city having a geographic area greater than San Francisco, Boston and Manhattan combined. No one on this planet can handle both tasks at the same time. Below is a the start of a proposed revision of the city’s organization chart.

In addition, the Mayor needs to further delegate responsibility and authority to the people reporting to him. As Ronald Reagan said of the Soviet Union, “Trust, but verify.” The organization chart below needs further work. Continue reading