DETROIT – I love a clown. Who the hell doesn't?
I love them except when they're running government.
And increasingly, that's what I'm see when it comes to governance Detroit and Wayne County: a circus with the tent of fire.
Consider this: the state Financial Advisory Board met this week to discuss Detroit's financial future. The new fiscal year starts Sunday. But, unbelievably I when I went there, I saw nobody of prominence from the Mayor's office, the City Council or the Wayne County Executive's suite.
With crime out of control, arsonists on the loose and an EMS system on life support, it's obvious that our leaders have no plan -- and a suspect work ethic.
Mayor Bing promised a business-like approach when he took office more than three years ago. Public safety, he continues to promise -- is his number one priority.
But what has he really done? Drawn a red-line straight through the budgets. That's it. No analysis. No Efficiencies. Cuts. Now we will have 200 less cops than last year and 100 less firefighters. And who is his man in charge of public safety? Kirk Lewis, the former chief of Bing's failed steel company. Sheesh.
Then there is Wayne County CEO Bob Ficano. Detroit remember is the county seat of Wayne County. We have now learned that the county's pension plan is only half-funded, brought down in part by Bob's sweetheart retirement gifts for his friends. Ficano blames the stock market downturn of 2008. But nobody seems to have told Bob that the market has gained back almost all those loses.
Ficano's deficit elimination plan is so murky and based on so much fuzzy math, that the state had to hire an accounting firm to make sense of it.
Then there is City Council President Charles Pugh. He has said more than once that cuts to public safety could make things more efficient. He can't say how. Maybe that's because he's been busy writing and directing: first a 45-minute video on how to get 6-pack abs and then flaming some poor intern on Twitter after the kid rightly criticized Pugh for his lack of priorities.
Which brings me to Kriss Andrews: he's the guy were paying $220,000 to be the shadow mayor – aka the program manager of Detroit – under its consent agreement with the state. His been hiding in his badger hole out in Novi trying to come up with a believable scenario as to how he can save a bankrupt city when he headed a private company that just went into bankruptcy. Hopefully, he's working from home.
So who's leading us out of this? Increasingly it looks like nobody. Even a circus needs a ring master.