They don’t see eye to eye on this one…
Charlie Beckham has been friends with Detroit Mayor Dave Bing for 30 years. They play tennis together every weekend and Beckham was instrumental in getting Bing elected. The two buddies however strongly disagree on whether an emergency manager is needed to help prevent the city from running out of
cash in four months.
The long time Detroit politico said it’s clear the city is in a financial crisis and Beckham believes an emergency manager is the only answer. “We may be a day late and – no pun intended – a dollar short.”
Beckham served as Bing’s campaign manager and his chief administrative officer before retiring. Beckham’s comments come as the state begins a 30 day review of the city’s troubled finances tomorrow (Tuesday). It may be the first step to Governor Rick Snyder appointing an emergency manager to take over the city.
Beckham, who ran for mayor of Detroit in 2001, believes it is indeed a prelude to a state takeover. “I think the only way out of this now is that we will have an emergency financial manager. I’ve been saying that all year,” Beckham said. And he believes it’s the right thing to do. “It’s the only way I think we can solve it. I think we’re so far down the road now that we don’t have the resources and the capability now to solve it for ourselves, quickly.”
On Thursday night, Bing rallied the troops, including city council members and union leaders in a failed attempt to stave off the impending review of the books. He urged the state to stay out of city affairs and let leaders develop a plan to address the cash flow crisis. Among other things, Bing’s plan calls for laying off 1,000 city worker, increasing transportation fares and getting unions to agree to wage, healthcare and pension concessions.
The appeal to the state fell on deaf ears. The very next day, the state announced the 30-day review. State leaders stressed that the review in no way means a financial manager will be appointed. Another option is for the city to enter into a consent agreement with the state.
Beckham says state intervention should be looked at as a positive rather than a negative. “All cities and municipalities are creatures of the state…He (Snyder) can not, as a governor, have his largest city in his state go bankrupt. He just can’t do it,” Beckham said. “He has a fiduciary responsibility. So, this is going to have to be a team effort.”
Beckham also said there’s enough blame to go around for the financial mess in the Motor City. “We’ve been in a crisis a long time and it rests at the feet of a whole lot of us leaders here in Detroit for not having addressed that crisis.” Beckham reflects on the 2001 mayoral campaign. He said he and other candidates sounded the alarm back then that Detroit was headed for a financial meltdown.