Metro Detroit's "Big 4" talk Wayne County scandals, emergency managers

Jan 17, 2012

The Detroit Economic Club hosts a public forum with Metro Detroit’s so-called “Big Four” at the Detroit Auto Show each year.

And Tuesday’s session with the Detroit Mayor and Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb County executives proved a bit livelier than usual.

This year, the usual regional topics took a backseat to some more hot-button issues. One of them: the future of Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano.

The FBI is investigating his administration for huge severance payments it made to departing employees, among other things.

Ficano would rather not talk about that as the “process” continues.

“What I want to do is focus and move forward,” Ficano said. “And I know, at the end, that I have done absolutely nothing wrong.”

The other big topic was emergency managers.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson says he supports the concept--even though his county seat, Pontiac, has lost its police and fire departments since an emergency manager took over.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, on the other hand, says he supports “home rule,” and is still hopeful the cash-strapped city can avoid a state takeover.

Bing says he thinks his administration can reach all-important concession agreements with city unions, including police and fire, by the end of the month.