DETROIT (WWJ) – What has been going on in Detroit in the days since the state began reviewing the city’s money situation? Mayor Dave Bing spoke exclusively on WWJ Newsradio 950 Friday morning about “making progress” in fixing the budget problem.
The three-day look at the city’s books wrapped up Thursday and now the State Treasurers Office has 30 days to complete the preliminary review of the city’s finances. The review is the first step in a possible consent agreement or the appointment of an emergency manager.
Hear Mayor Bing’s Interview with WWJ’s Vickie Thomas:
And while Bing doesn’t want an emergency manager in Detroit, he thinks he’s best-suited for the job.
“Yes I do, at this point in time. I think the learning curve is so steep for anybody to come in here, that it would be very, very difficult, it’s very, very risky. I didn’t come into this position to be an emergency manager. I was voted in to be mayor. But I do think the team that I have, including myself, are the best team that we can put in city government to get us out of this situation,” he said.
Bing said he doesn’t want people to think he’s only targeting unions for budget cuts.
“A major process that we’ve got to go through is contract negotiations, and the areas that are most critical to us would be wages, would be pension reform, health care reform and the last one would be work rules. Those are the four areas that we want to focus on because that’s where we can get the most flexibility and the most savings,” he said.
Bing said about 1,000 layoffs will probably be needed to balance the books, with public safety a last option for cuts. But he says Detroiters needn’t worry about their city “falling apart.”
“There’s no doubt in my mind that we’ve got the team to take us through this crisis. I mean, people act like this just happened. You have to go back 25 or 30 years and look at all the things that got us where we are today. And I think when I came in office, 30 or 31 months ago, there was, I said at that time, we had a crisis in the city,” he said.
The mayor said he’s not exactly sure what Governor Rick Snyder means when he says he wants to help Detroit.
“What help is he talking about? I mean, I’m getting a lot of verbage and lip service doesn’t help us. So, saying that ‘I want to help,’ identify what you’re talking about,” Bing said.
“I think that there are legislative areas that they ought to be looking at, like state health care reform, state pension reform. Those are the big issues that we need to deal with and that would not only help Detroit, it would help every municipality in the State of Michigan. So, they need to move on that. Those are the first things that they can do to help us,” he continued.
Earlier, Gov. Snyder said Detroit should be welcoming any help from Lansing.
“I don’t necessarily understand that conclusion because if you’re in tough financial shape, why wouldn’t you want people to help you?” Snyder said.