MACKINAC ISLAND (Talk Radio 1270) – At the Mackinac Policy Conference, executives from Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties met to discuss the issues facing their communities, their plans of action and how the problems of Detroit are affecting their counties.
Talk Radio 1270 Morning Show Host Charlie Langton held a round table Wednesday at The Grand Hotel with L. Brooks Patterson, Mark Hackel and Robert Ficano.
Langton asked Wayne County Executive Ficano if he thinks he should step down in the midst of the censure and investigation into his office. Ficano said after 30 years on the job, this is just a bump in the road.
“Actually if you look at it, things are moving along quite fine in Wayne County. In the first quarter, we’ve had $340 million of investment, the aerotropolis is taking off, we’re meeting all our bills, we’re paying all our vendors, contracts are getting in front of the commission, things are being voted on and things are functioning,” said Ficano.
Ficano said after apologizing several times, he is moving on and is now focusing on what the future holds for the county.
“I’m moving forward now and say let’s make sure Wayne County and the citizens are able to be successful, and the best way to do it is to make sure Wayne County functions and functions properly,” said Ficano.
Macomb County Executive Hackel showed support for his cohort.
“There are a lot of people that are in public positions that are some times criticized, people question what we do, how we do it,” said Hackel. “People have a right to be accused, but they also have a right to make sure that people are fairly investigating a particular investigation.”
On the topic of Detroit, Oakland County Executive Patterson said it would be nice to see the city succeed, but the state of the surrounding region does not rely on it.
“It doesn’t have to, but we want it to because we are linked in some ways to the fortune of Detroit,” said Patterson. “I don’t know that our success is tied to Detroit’s success. Would it make it easier, would it be easier for me to recruit business? Probably, but I’m not going to say that I’m tied to the fortunes of Detroit. I’m not going that far.”
Patterson said Detroit is moving too slowly implementing the consent agreement with the state.
“They haven’t even made their appointments yet. I saw where Governor Snyder this morning said ‘Lets meet without them.’ I mean, what’s that all about? That’s the last chance that they have before they go over the cliff, I’m talking about bankruptcy, and they haven’t even made their appointments to the financial advisory board,” said Patterson.
“But they signed the consent agreement. This isn’t something that now they’re saying ‘Jeez, I don’t know if we should do this,'” said Ficano.
“Detroit is treating this whole financial crisis like teenagers treat acne, leave it alone and it will go away. And you can’t, you’ve got to deal with it. And Detroit refuses to face reality. They are inches away from the cliff,” said Patterson.
“In a crisis mode, you can’t have 10,000 cooks in the kitchen. You’ve got to have someone who can take charge, someone who’s going to take a leadership role, and I think they need to start moving in that direction. Allow somebody to make the financial decisions on behalf of the city of Detroit. It has to happen,” said Hackel.
Either way, all three men agree that city and state leaders need to step up in order for progress to be made.
The executives also talked about millages, casinos, recreational opportunities, housing and several other issues.
Listen to the two-part complete discussion below: