Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says he’s pleased with how his administration has “moved the needle forward on Detroit’s future.”
Bing talked about his accomplishments and challenges as mayor in a farewell speech to the Detroit Economic Club Wednesday.
Bing, who decided not to seek re-election this November, says he was forced to make “tough but unpopular” decisions as mayor--like laying off about a one-third of the city’s workforce. But he says the result leaves his successor, Mike Duggan, with a clear path to success.
“We laid the foundation for the true transformation of our city,” Bing says. “Although the journey has been long and often times difficult, we have developed a roadmap for real change.”
Bing cited his administration’s effort to demolish 10,000 vacant structures, a new public safety headquarters, and real steps like toward regionalization—like regional authorities to manage the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department and Cobo Center—as concrete examples of his administration’s successes.
Bing called the appointment of Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr in March 2013 “a huge disappointment.” Nonetheless, he advised Duggan to “work with” Orr “until he’s out of a job.
And the mayor admitted there were “lots of disappointments and roadblocks” along the way.
“There were a lot of things we couldn’t do, and the reason for that is we had no money. And I don’t think we got the kind of support that I would’ve liked from the state.”
Bing says right now, the biggest thing Lansing can do is step up and backstop Detroit’s pension funds. Pensioners face the possibility of steep cuts in bankruptcy court, something Bing calls “unfathomable.”
As for future plans, Bing says he plans to next a vacation at the beginning of next year. Beyond that, he plans to stay in Detroit and “involved in the city’s transformation”—especially in blight eradication and revitalizing Detroit’s recreation centers, two signature initiatives of his administration.