Wayne Co. CEO Bob Ficano delivers State of the County Address

Wayne Co. CEO Bob Ficano delivers State of the County Address

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In front of a select audience of about 80 Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano delivered the State of the County Address Tuesday night.

FOX 2's Taryn Asher was there.

VIDEO: Click on the video player above to watch her report, or read the transcript below

Bob Ficano stood proud, explaining how he brought millions in investment and hundreds of jobs to the county. He also explained how he's working to reduce the 200 million dollar deficit by revising pensions and cutting salaries, operating expenses and the workforce by 1,300 people.

But many wonder, has the damage already been done? If this is such a good plan why is the county so close to bankruptcy or possibly a state takeover?

"He's got us as the comeback kid but I don't see the good part about the county government side of it. It's pretty much in shambles right now. It's probably too late for him to fix it," says Kevin McNamara, Wayne Co. Commissioner.

It's no secret the FBI is conducting a county-wide corruption probe. Most recently, Ficano's former aide was sent to prison for accepting bribes.

And then, the big elephant room.

The CEO brushed over it in his speech - the Wayne Co. Jail boondoggle, which could cost the county millions of dollars.

"That was his own project, his own deal that he sold to the county, he sold to the commissioners, and he mismanaged it," says Laura Cox, Wayne Co. Commissioner.

"The deficit, the jail - these are things you can't just blow of and make it sound like it's somebody's fault or it's not important," says Gary Woronchak, the Wayne Co. Commission Chair.

And it appears public safety is paying part of the price. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worth says her department can hardly function with the cuts.

To bring down overtime costs Sheriff Benny Napoleon says he has been forced to reassign every officer from Internet crime to narcotics over to the jails, but when he moved 12 officers who work in the Warrant Enforcement Bureau Ficano rescinded his approval.

"How are you going to now scream foul because I'm trying to cut down on overtime in the jail by using these people because you like this people? But the folks you didn't really care about, it's okay to put them back," says Napoleon.

With Dearborn's Automotive Hall of Fame as the back drop, Ficano compared Wayne Co. to the auto industry calling it the comeback county.

Looking ahead to the future Ficano says he plans to offset the deficit in part by using money from the delinquent tax revolving fund, and says they are close to regional cooperation when it comes to Detroit's Water and Sewerage Department.

Both sounded almost like a done deal, but really we're told they are far from it.

"We're going to make sure that the treasurer is fully engaged in those discussions, because we don't want to jeopardize the program," says Woronchak.

"I really don't see it happening any time in the near future. We are so far away from this. It's more of a, if you will, it's more of an emergency for them to try to figure out how do they solve their crisis in Detroit," says Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel.

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