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

Snyder’s Demise

Rick Snyder either flunked all of the civic classes he ever had or the years that he successfully spent in the business world drained his memory of all that he was taught. In a democracy elected officials work for the citizens of the state.

A well functioning democracy requires not only the implementation of sound policy and ideas; it also requires the Governor to communicate to his citizens informing them ahead of time what he plans on doing and why he is doing it. This is Snyder’s downfall and it is likely to cost him in the 2014 election. The Governor and his team obviously did a poor job in selling the citizens of the state on the wisdom of the Emergency Manager law during the last election. This in turn forced him to ram the law through the legislature after the election in order to deal with the financial emergencies of the state, including Detroit.

I tend to give Snyder the benefit of the doubt. I believe he knew of the possible consequences, including not being reelected, but he felt he needed to do it anyway for the good of the state. Detroit is in deep financial trouble and bankruptcy is one avenue that needed to be explored and it is possibly the best alternative for the city and its residence. Communication is once again a key component of managing this crisis and Snyder and Orr seem to be falling short.

The citizens of  Detroit should understand it would be a mistake if Orr, representing the city, shared his every thought concerning his negotiations with the creditors with the citizens of Detroit. This would be like being in a poker game and while the game was in progress you told all your opponents the cards you were holding in your hands. You would lose every time.

Well, Orr is in a poker game with the city’s creditors and they are monitoring everything they can to try and determine what Orr is holding and what he is thinking. As a result, he cannot be candid about everything.

So, the voters have every right to throw Snyder’s butt out in 2014. In the meantime, recognize the talent that Orr has and accept the fact his opponents are watching and listening to everything he says so he cannot be totally candid. .