LANSING – Heralding the arrival of a new era for the troubled city, Governor Rick Snyder announced on Tuesday that he had appointed the first manager in Detroit’s checkered history.
“The time has come for Michigan’s largest city to be managed, by a manager,” said the governor at a press conference in front of the Michigan Statehouse. “For too long, Detroit has had no effective police force, fire department, sanitation service, sewer system, traffic lights, street lights, administrative bureaucracy, city clerk, school system, tax authority, or treasury.
“We can do better,” Snyder concluded.
For as long as city resident-vagrants can remember, Detroit has been “governed” by a series of increasingly ineffective non-managers, including a race-baiter, a convicted felon, a professional basketball player, and Kwame Kilpatrick. Unfortunately for Detroiters, these individuals have failed to halt the city’s population shrinkage or the decimation of its tax base.
Prominent figures from across the state praised the governor’s choice for manager, Kevyn Orr, who earned his undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Michigan. Orr said he hopes to render a “substantial improvement” over the “de facto and de jure anarchy” of the city’s recent history.
Some city residents, however, were less than pleased by Snyder’s announcement. Said Monique Washington, who lives at the intersection of Cass Avenue and an illegible, bombed-out street sign, “We don’t need no rich-ass man comin’ down from Lansing and telling us Detroiters how to run our business. We know what we doin’. Stop takin’ away our democracy! Free Kwame.”
High-ranking officials in Lansing have suggested that if Snyder’s manager plan is ultimately ineffective, the state may have to install a so-called “emergency-manager” manager in the city, as provided by Public Act 4. However, all agree that it is sensible to let a competent, qualified, actual manager run Detroit’s affairs for the first time in 50 years before taking such drastic action.
Originally published: March 2013