Duggan (Ricardo Thomas / The Detroit News)
Criticism comes with the job when youíre mayor of Detroit. Itís something you rarely hear me complain about.
But Nolan Finleyís attacks on the men and women who are joining this administration are unfair and unjustified. We have a team of people who are putting in 60-80 hour work weeks trying, in the midst of bankruptcy, to get street lights on, abandoned houses cleaned up, and buses and ambulances running on time.
We have a salary structure thatís the lowest of any major city in America and a hiring process where each of my appointees has been approved by both Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr and by Gov. Rick Snyderís administration. Itís hardly a recipe, as Mr. Finley suggests, for building a team of unqualified political cronies.
Our team includes people with strong government experience: a former police chief ó Ike McKinnon, a former state legislator ó Lisa Howze, a former Detroit chief of staff ó Charlie Beckham, and two former Michigan chiefs of staff ó Tom Lewand and Rick Weiner.
That experience is blended with a group of talented Detroiters who are working in government for the first time in their careers: Spokeswoman Alexis Wiley from Fox 2 News, deputy jobs director Kirk Mays from the Brightmoor Alliance, deputy chief of staff Melissa Smiley, a former Detroit Revitalization fellow, and Neighborhoods Department General Manager Vicky Kovari of the Michigan Organizing Project.
Have I recruited people who have worked with me successfully in the past? Absolutely. Mary Palazzolo Martin was the Detroit Medical Centerís head of lean processing, a person at the center of the efficiency improvements that drove DMCís financial turnaround. She is now heading Detroitís process re-engineering team, attacking the terrible inefficiencies in city government, starting with our slow ambulance response time.
Kevin Simowski is a highly respected 20-year prosecutor who played a key role in developing the nuisance abatement lawsuit program that saved more than 1,000 abandoned homes when I was prosecutor. Whatís he now doing for Detroit? Heís heading the Detroit Land Bankís litigation team, suing the owners of abandoned houses and drug houses across the city. How could you find anyone more qualified?
I donít know of a business executive in America who doesnít try to recruit people they have worked with in the past and know to be honest, hardworking, and competent. Thatís not cronyism ó itís sound management.
Mike Duggan, mayor of Detroit