Wipe Out Detroit City Government Waste? Start with the TP

Wipe Out Detroit City Government Waste? Start with the TP

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DETROIT – If Mayor Bing and the City Council are serious about wiping out waste then they might consider cutting-out their toilet paper.

The two offices spend about $1,500 per month for TP, which might not seem like a whole lot in the face of a $195 million deficit. But then consider that the city asked the school children to bring their own end wipes a few years ago when the school district ran out of money.

At the very least they could use both sides of the industrial one-ply, if only to show solidarity with the people.

I went down to City Hall on Thursday to watch the latest installment of Detroit Government puppet theater. With the city on the verge of financial collapse Mayor Bing showed up with a fiscal plan so short on meat, you could only call it bone soup.

Hizzoner offered up this peach: the city will immediately save $20 million managing the city’s overtime better.

Seriously? Bing didn’t tell us how he was going to manage overtime any different than he did two years ago.

And then consider no city department has offered its proposed budget for the next fiscal year – due a month ago -- because the mayor is too involved with his poorly crafted budget for this fiscal year to deal with it. Believe it or not, things could get even worse in Detroit.

The council mocked the mayor, as they should have. The Lansing take-over is in the works and they’re all going to be on the bread line with their constituents.

I noticed the council members were drinking bottled water paid for by you the tax payer. It’s also worth noting that the nine city council members get 12 weeks vacation a year. Twelve weeks!

They get generous health care benefits, pensions, seven police officers to protect them and cars and gas paid for by the residents of the poorest big city in America.

Most other municipalities have a part-time council. But not Detroit. Detroit’s Council is in fact among the costliest in America. ( Read Pew Report, click here )

When Council Member Gary Brown proposed last month that the council give back its cell phones and cars and cut its budget by $4million, his colleagues scoffed.

“Let’s not engage in a race to the bottom,” said Councilman Ken Cockrel. His colleagues agreed that Detroit has already hit rock bottom, thanks in large part to the council’s boating skills. The proposal was voted down.

Brown is sick to his stomach. “This isn’t rocket science,” he told me. “When you are an executive you need to lead by example. You sacrifice before the union employees. You don’t wait until they’re cut first. That’s following, not leading.”

So here we are: laying off police, towing away ambulances and shutting down firehouses while the council hordes cops, even though half the council members pack pistols. I asked Brown about the toilet paper.

“If we had any kind of management sense down here, we would be buying the toilet paper through a co-op,” he said. “Then we could all be using Cottonelle.”

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