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Detroit Mayor Bing feeling sidelined, has advice for next mayor

Michigan Government

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing will finish his term at the end of the year, and according to Matt Helms of the Detroit Free Press, Bing is going out feeling frustrated.

Contrary to what the state and city had discussed for Mayor Dave Bing’s role, Orr has essentially pushed Bing aside, forced out several of his administrators, assumed control of the city and left Bing and his team frustrated, powerless, resentful of Orr’s approach and feeling as though their contributions have not been recognized.

The Mayor and the Detroit City Council were stripped off much of their power once Kevyn Orr was appointed as emergency manager of the city - so they were sidelined at the start.

This city org chart posted by the Freep illustrates it.

See the line drawn to Bing's position? He's on the sidelines. 

But Orr and Gov. Snyder promised to work in partnership with the city's leaders. In a statement to the Freep, Bing said he was "frustrated about the direction of the supposed partnership."

In an interview with the Free Press in April, Bing had estimated that he was spending a couple hours a week with Orr, and said, “I don’t think that’s enough. I think I can give him good advice. … It would behoove him, in my opinion, to spend more time with my key executives.” Those executives, for the most part, are either gone or working for Orr.

Orr spokesman Bill Nowling told the Freep that Orr "is just doing what needs to be done."

“This is a restructuring,” Nowling said. “You come in and you get to see what’s working and what’s not working. We had to focus in on what we had to restructure, and that required change agents in those positions. It has nothing to do with personalities or whose team they’re on. It has to do with who’s the right person for the job.”

This November, Detroiters will elect a new mayor. The race is between Benny Napolean and Mike Duggan.

The winner will then have to work to define their role in a city out of their control. 

Mayor Bing said the next mayor is going to "find a lot of holes as we continue to lose qualified people," and that the mayoral/EM partnership "needs to be a true partnership."

Mark Brush was Michigan Radio’s Digital Media Director. He succumbed to a year-long battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, in March 2018. He was 49 years old.
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