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Metro Detroit’s Big Four Sound Off On Money And Marriage

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Attending  the  Detroit Economic Club Big Four luncheon at Cobo Center were (from left): Tom Canedo, vice president/general manager of CBS 62/ CW50;  Rod Alberts, executive director of DADA, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel;  Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, Detroit Economic Club President/CEO Beth Chappell,  CBS 62’s Carol Cain and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing. (Photo: Jeff Kowalsky)

Attending the Detroit Economic Club Big Four luncheon at Cobo Center were (from left): Tom Canedo, vice president/general manager of CBS 62/ CW50; Rod Alberts, executive director of DADA, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel; Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, Detroit Economic Club President/CEO Beth Chappell, CBS 62’s Carol Cain and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing. (Photo: Jeff Kowalsky)

(credit: WWJ-TV) Carol Cain
An Emmy Award winning journalist, Carol Cain is also the se...
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By Carol Cain
CBS 62

It was talk of fiscal woes and marriage that grabbed headlines as Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel and Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano took to the Detroit Economic Club’s storied stage and discussed the road ahead.

The foursome—known as the region’s ‘Big Four’  – appeared at the 4th annual DEC event held at the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center staged along with the  Detroit Auto Dealers Association and CBS 62.

 I moderated the “Big Four” conversation which aired as a special “Michigan Matters” on Sunday.

Big Four againWATCH: Big Four Segment 1

On money woes – specifically the Motor City’s fiscal crisis — Patterson said Detroit needed an emergency financial manager to start, “kicking ass and taking names” to get its house in order.

Detroit faces an accumulated deficit of nearly $327 million and is working on a plan to cut another $90 million by June 30.

A state-appointed team is  reviewing the city’s finances and could recommend appointment of an emergency manager within weeks.

Bing countered that bringing in one person to try and resolve Detroit’s woes wouldn’t improve upon the team of executives and consultants already working under the city’s current consent agreement with the state.

“I do think that we have the team and the talent here in Detroit to work our way through the process,” Bing said.

Patterson mentioned Pontiac Emergency Manager Louis Schimmel who eliminated that city’s police department and made other changes that lead to its  credit rating being recently upgraded.

Bing added the city has made as many cuts as it can and is looking to leverage some of the new investment in the city to raise revenue.

The ties that bind

The political leaders also offered some final words on a host of issues.

Ficano announced his daughter had gotten married in August.

Hackel, 50,  a lifelong bachelor, followed up by telling people  he had gotten engaged on Christmas Day.

“Word started to get out … and my staff is over there snickering…  This is an uncomfortable moment. So, I’m just going to give it – I got engaged on Christmas Day!” Hackel said.

He got engaged to Tracie Damschroder, 31, of Shelby Township.

They met eight years ago at Macomb Community College.

Hackel, who is in the midst of his first term as county executive, also repeated a few times during the event he would not  run for governor in 2014.

(Carol Cain is the Emmy winning Senior Producer and Host of “Michigan Matters” airing 11:30 a.m.  Sundays on CBS  62. She writes about politics and business in Sunday’s Detroit Free Press. She can be reached at clcain@cbs.com.)

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