Well this is odd.
Despite the fact that someone needs to get in there and fix Detroit’s fiscal problems, a whole host of Detroit political leaders don’t want Gov. Rick Snyder to appoint an emergency manager. Why would that be?
City Council President Charles Pugh thinks expanding the consent agreement would be just fine.
Former corporation counsel Krystal Crittenden – the same Krystal Crittenden who helped to sabotage the consent agreement with the state – says there is no justification for an EM.
Mayoral candidate Mike Duggan says emergency managers don’t work in big cities.
Mayoral candidate Lisa Howze says the state is exaggerating how bad the city’s fiscal condition is, so an EM is not necessary.
Councilman Gary Brown says an EM can never fix Detroit in 18 months, so it’s not worth trying.
Councilwoman JoAnn Watson says, “Sue!” Of course.
My favorite protest comes from NAACP leader Rev. Wendell Anthony, who warns darkly that if Snyder appoints an EM, then Snyder owns Detroit’s economic condition. Sounds like a man who is tired of seeing his allies own it. It’s hard to blame him.
So what do all these people have in common? With the arguable exception of Anthony, they all stand to lose power and influence if Snyder appoints an EM. Duggan says he will run for mayor whether there’s an EM or not, but clearly if Snyder goes the EM route then a would-be Mayor Duggan would have less power.
You realize, of course, what all of this means: The protests of these particular people spell out the best argument anyone could possibly make for why Snyder must appoint an emergency manager – and the sooner the better. That’s because the instinct of Detroit politicians is to protect their own turf and influence – and power is the very thing that put Detroit in such a horrible fiscal state in the first place.
A city that can’t trim the size of its government from the days when its population was three times what it is today is not looking out for the needs of its people with such recalcitrance. It is taking care of the people who fund their campaigns, which in Detroit almost always means public employee unions. The city can’t possibly afford 12,900 employees, nor does it need 12,900 employees. But all those union dues help fund the coffers of re-election campaigns, and that means politicians maintain power, which is a lot more important than responsible fiscal management.
So why would the same politicians who have been tossing good taxpayer money after bad for years to preserve their power now get on board when the governor is considering literally taking away their power and giving it to someone who will a) do the job they were supposed to do; and b) do it in such a way that those campaign funds will dry up awfully quickly?
And by the same token, when people like Duggan and Pugh say the city leaders should be allowed to fix the problems themselves, and Snyder considers what a fine job they’ve done so far, why should he give them the chance?