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September 24, 2013

Snyder Screwed Up

As smart as Snyder is, he blew the creation and implementation of the Emergency Manager law. He was so successful in his private business career that he ignored important elements of being a leader in a democracy; keep the citizens informed, citizens have a right to voice their concerns about what he is doing and when he fails to get his way do not trample on those who he represents.

I still believe Snyder is doing what he believes is right for the state and the city of Detroit. What is wrong is how he has gone about trying to achieve what he wants. He still operates as if he is the CEO of a corporation where he handpicked the people he reports to, the Board of Directors. In a corporate entity, the Board tends to rubber stamp everything the CEO does.  This is not the case in a democracy. Citizens
have rights including the right to be informed and the right to expect everything their elected leader does is above board.

I have no doubt Detroit needs an Emergency Manager. Snyder made the mistake of thinking that his new Board of Directors, the voter, would rubber stamp everything he wanted and there was no need for him to waste time informing and convincing voters that it was the right thing to do. As a result of over confidence, his emergency manager law was voted down in 2012. He then scrambled and pushed the law through the legislature in the winter of 2012-2013.

He continued to ignore keeping the citizenry informed by selecting the EM for Detroit under a veil of secrecy and in so doing perhaps violated the law. Now we learn that the Governor has been using his nerd fund to pay for the emergency manager's housing while working in Detroit and paying for his weekend trips back home to D.C.. This was probably finally disclosed because of the upcoming deposition of the Governor relating to the city's bankruptcy.

Further he implemented the Emergency Manager law in Detroit poorly and organized the administration of the city improperly. An Emergency Manager is overseeing the largest municipal bankruptcy in history and at the same time overseeing the operation of a city having a geographic area greater than San Francisco, Boston and Manhattan combined. No one on this planet can handle both tasks at the same time. Here is a start of a proposed revision of the city's organization chart. http://lstrn.us/1a17Jl2 . The EM should be reporting to the Mayor.

Orr is a damn good bankruptcy attorney. That does not guarantee that he is good at administering the daily operations of a city. In addition, the Mayor needs to further delegate responsibility and authority to the people reporting to him. As Ronald Reagan said of the Soviet Union, "Trust, but verify." The "revised "organization chart" needs further work because too many people are reporting to the Mayor.

Snyder knows he is intelligent and he dislikes the messy and cumbersome way decisions are made in a Democracy. It slows the decision making process down and it makes it harder for the leader to get everything he wants. The problem is this messy way of governing has served this country well for over 200 years. If Snyder cannot adapt to it he should take his nerd fund and go back into the private sector. If he does not change his ways, the voters may do it for him.

1 comment:

  1. You are right on the money. Snyder's smartness is based on corporate structure and he doesn't understand or wishes to ignore public government processes. This kind of nonprofit organization was designed as a work around from usual nonprofit status as a way to provide donor secrecy.

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