A LITANY OF MALFEASANCE
Mayor Dave Bing’s incompetence makes a case for his removal from office.
He has betrayed city residents and acted against their best intersts.
His decision to cede his responsibilities and accept Gov. Rick Snyder’s appointment of an emergency financial manager; his refusal to join Council in fighting the state takeover and his decision to work with the governor sparked several acts of civil disobedience throughout the city and seemed to crystallize long-time discontent with Bing.
Protests and traffic shut-downs followed Bing’s March 4 statement. Many have called for the mayor to step down, saying he does not deserve to collect a city pay check, drive a city car or live in a city owned home.
Bing’s latest actions mark a career of public betrayal. From the archives of the Michigan Citizen is a partial list of the ways the Franklin resident undermined the city and stopped progress:
Breaks campaign law
In violation of state campaign finance law, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing borrowed $38,475 from his company, Bing Holdings LLC. It was then illegal to do it.
Bing recruited most of his “Crisis Turn-Around Team” from the private sector. Many were cast-off Bing Group executives. Its co-chairs were Denise Illitch of Illitch Holdings, now in default to the city for unpaid taxes and fees.
Many who voted for Bing said they were confident in him because of his role as a business owner. Yet, Crain’s Detroit Business reported Bing’s company carried a “heavy debt load and loss of customers cloud the company’s future.” Michigan Citizen reported the seven bankruptcies he had filed over the years.
Lay-offs and outsourcing of DDOT
Bing laid off over a hundred DDOT employees. His drastic cuts in bus service and city workers, attacks on union contracts, and perceived arrogance have caused unions to support then mayoral challenger Tom Barrow in the November 2009 election.
Bing was admonished by labor leaders for reviving the idea of privatizing tax collection after it proved to be ineffective under former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. His solutions were called destructive.
Workers got 10 percent pay cuts, while Bing hired seven new administrators at top salaries for his office.
Bing laid off 110 bus mechanics even though the city had a $9 million grant aimed at upgrading buses, specifically including jobs for mechanics.
Bing appoints Grosse Pointe politico to top spot
Mayor Dave Bing appointed Grosse Point resident Jill Alper to serve as Detroit’s delegate to the National Democratic Party committee.
In the past, the spot went to mayoral staffers and, by extension, the interests of the city. Instead, Alper, who is a principal at the multi-client consulting company, works for herself.
Maurice Badgett responded: “In his day the Hon. Coleman A. Young fought, that Detroit would have African American Detroiters to fill these positions.” Archer and Kilpatrick maintained the tradition. Bing weakened Detroit’s political position within the state and national politics.
Bing attacks unions
Without prior warning, Mayor Dave Bing sent most of the city’s 50 unions a letter unilaterally terminating their contracts. He directed the city to stop deducting union dues and service fees from members’ checks.
Bing moves to outsource
The Bing administration moved in November 2009 to outsource the city’s collections. Fiscal Analyst Irvin Corley said services possibly involved in the outsourcing include collection of delinquent income and property taxes, EMS charges and fines associated with the Municipal Parking Department, the Department of Administrative Hearings and the Engineering Department. Bing would award the contract to the Municipal Services Bureau of the Texas-based Gila Corporation and the New-York based Muniservices. (Nov. 15, 2009)
Mayoral control of DPS
Deputy Mayor Saul Green spoke on behalf of Mayor Bing before a formal Council session July 20, 2010. He told Council the mayor is supporting the Change for Better Schools initiative to take over Detroit Public Schools. Bing released a statement that read: “If this measure becomes law, I will enthusiastically accept responsibility for our city’s schools, hiring and overseeing a superintendent who will set the budget and curriculum standards for our schools, with the input of an Advisory Board composed of parents, educators and citizens. I will report on the progress of the schools annually to our citizens.”
Detroit Works — Shrinking the city: A modern day trail of tears
Mayor Dave Bing told WJR radio’s conservative commentator Frank Beckmann in early 2010 that he plans to shrink the city. In his plan, many living in sparsely populated areas would be forced to move as he cuts city services to their locations. Bing’s plans were based on a study funded in part by “Living Cities.” Members of that national organization include the Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, J.P. Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, (all clients of Jones Day, the company Bing wants now to manage restructuring under an EFM) and Prudential Financial, along with “philanthropic” groups like the Ford, Kresge, Kellogg and Skillman Foundations.
Bing said: “Relocation, absolutely. If we don’t do it, this whole city is going to go down. I’m hopeful people will understand that. If we can incentivize some of those folks in those desolate situations, they can get better opportunities. There is just too much land and too many expenses for us to continue to manage the city as we have in the past. There are tough decisions that are going to have to be made. There will be winners and losers, but in the end we’ve got to do what’s right for the city’s future.”
Pension: Bing attempts $6 billion giveaway to Lansing
City residents and members of the City Council called Mayor Dave Bing’s proposed giveaway of the city’s $6 billion, 100 percent funded pension systems to a 50 percent funded corporate entity run by out-state officials the “height of insanity” during a heated discussion at Council, March 30, 2010. Four bills pending in the state legislature would allow the mayor to ask the state treasurer to declare the pension funds “distressed” and force the takeover. Bing has said the transfer will save $20 million a year in the city’s pension payments, a fraction of the city’s projected $300 million budget deficit. The Council unanimously passed a resolution condemning the move, angered that Bing bypassed the pension boards, the Council and the Charter Commission to go to Lansing. They said the giveaway violates the City Charter, city ordinances and the state’s Home Rule Act.
The bills would allow the state treasurer to unilaterally force Detroit’s General and police and Fire Retirement Systems to join the Lansing-based Municipal Employees Retirement System.
Resisted council’s budget cuts
In the 2010-11 budget, City Council proposed more cuts than did Mayor Bing. Bing wanted to cut $101 million from the city’s budget, leaving it at $3.1 billion, while the Council proposed another $31.8 million in cuts. The Council’s Fiscal Analyst Irvin Corley said the city’s budget deficit will be larger than that estimated by Bing’s staff. “If we don’t substantially fix the budget and make cuts, we will have a receiver, possibly under a Republican governor.”
Gives away water
In 2011, legislation was introduced by Republican Rep. Kurt Heise to give control of Detroit’s water system to a suburban dominated authority. The bill allowed for the committee to control bidding and contracting, adopt budgets, establish rates and fees, etc. Detroit would keeps ownership, incurring any and all liability.
Deep in personal debt
Suppliers of Grant Industries accused Bing of “ducking” process servers in 2010. They said the mayor was hiding behind his aides. Grant Industries is suing Mayor Bing’s steel company, Bing Metals, for $385,000.
According to the report, Bing was also being sued by Parts Finishing Group for $37,000. They claimed Bing was dodging them.
Outsourced health department and workforce development
Bing privatized the Health Department leading to the loss of more city jobs. The funding was from the federal government and had nothing to do with the city funds. Outsourced Workforce Development to Detroit Employment Solutions. Again, federal funds were involved.
Belle Isle giveaway
Joined Snyder in an effort to give control of Belle Isle to the state.
After serving 20 years on the board of DTE, Bing rewarded the for-profit utility several times in his administration with cooperation of the Council Six. Turned over the Mistersky power plant to DTE for vehicle storage while outsourcing power production to DTE. Supported state creation of the Lighting Authority, more outsourcing.
Labeled the biggest land giveaway in Detroit’s history, Bing pushed for and the Council Six approved the sale of 1500 parcels on the eastside for $300 a lot. Thousand citizens attended the one hearing and protested vigoursly. Bing ignored the people.
In short, Bing’s career with the city has been one of inaction when it came to doing positive things for its residents, and sabotage at every turn. He is guilty of serving someone other than city taxpayers. He continues on his path in defiance of citizens.
The last straw was his refusal to honor the people’s vote. Across the state, 2.1 million people voted against Public Act 4, the emergency manager law, in November. The vote in Detroit against emergency financial management was nearly unanimous. That means nothing to Bing. He wants an EFM. Step down, Mr. Bing, you have no moral authority to collect another penny from Detroit taxpayers.