Monday, May 20, 2013

In Detroit a Bleak Report That May or May Not Be Too Pessimistic

But A Union Leader’s Comments Are Not Helpful

The city of Detroit is such a basket case that the state of Michigan essentially took over administration of the city, giving broad power to a ‘czar’ who was appointed to run things.  That czar has now issued his first report, and it is not a pretty picture.

In a report to be presented to Michigan’s treasurer on Monday, Kevyn D. Orr, the emergency manager appointed in March to take over operations here, described long-term obligations of at least $15 billion, unsustainable cash flow shortages and miserably low credit ratings that make it difficult to borrow.

And in the face of those fiscal troubles, Mr. Orr, a longtime bankruptcy lawyer, portrayed city operations in Detroit as in need of significant repair, including overhauls of the city’s Police Department and Fire Department, among others. . . .

But Mr. Orr’s findings, painfully detailing the city’s problems over more than 40 pages, also seem likely to become a new focal point for debate for some in Detroit who have questioned the seriousness of the city’s troubles and the need for state intervention at a level rarely seen for a city of its size.

Now no one should doubt that there is strong incentive for Mr. Orr to paints the most negative picture possible, because he is subject to criticism if things were actually worse, immune from criticism if things were actually better, and will have stronger support and lower expectations if he presents the situation he is inheriting as very, very bad.

In fact, a union leader has disagreed about the severity of the situation.

“It’s not as bad as what they’re trying to make it out to be,” Edward L. McNeil, a local official for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said on Sunday.

And he may be right and might have had some credibility, except for this.

Mr. McNeil had not viewed a copy of Mr. Orr’s report, which was not made public until late Sunday, but he said he had grown accustomed to overly negative assessments of Detroit by the state and its representatives.

Ok fine Mr. McNeil, disagree with the report if you want, but don’t you think you would have a little more support for your position if you, you know, had actually read the report and been able to rebut it on a factual basis.

Just a thought sir, we’d like to be on your side because we think part of what is going on here is a state Republican effort to punish and possibly destroy public employee unions, but we need some reasons to do so.  Telling us a report you have not read is wrong is wrong.

No comments:

Post a Comment