We knew it was only a matter of time before new Mayor Dave Bing would start making his recommendations to privatize more parts of Detroit! Today, the point guard Mayor announced he wants to privatize the Detroit Public Lighting Department.
The Detroit Public Lighting Department–like most Detroit city government units–has an Interim Director and a history of poor service and budget problems. Public Lighting is responsible for street lights, traffic signals, and major facilities around the city including:
- Coleman A. Young Municipal Center
- City Airport
- Detroit Public Libraries
- Hart Plaza
- Cobo Center
- Joe Louis Arena
- Wayne State University
- Detroit Public Schools
- Detroit Police and Fire Stations
- McNamara Federal Building
- Detroit Receiving HospitalAs reported in the Detroit Free Press, in an interview with Tavis Smiley on PBS, Mayor Bing rationalized his decision:
There are some things that here, in this city, that we ought not be doing as part of government. For example, we have a lighting department that, you know, we are not in that business. There are things that we do in city government that were necessary when you had the funding to do it, that we no longer have the revenue to do it anymore. And in some cases, it can be done cheaper and better on the outside.
Of course, our comrades at AFSCME 207–Detroit water and electrical workers union–are opposed to this and so are we! Just as we’ve seen in the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, outsourcing and privatizing these jobs does NOT save money and does NOT improve service! Laying off more city workers who know the city and bringing in outside contractors is not the solution. Ineffective directors and managers in these municipal departments have “created a perceived crisis,” aptly described in the Michigan Ctizen by Call ’em’ Out’s Agnes Hitchcock due to their gross mismanagement!
There’s talk about DTE taking over Detroit Public Lighting. If that happens, we can’t wait to see which street lights will get shut off when the city forgets to pay its light bill. We’re guessing it won’t be those around the Manoogian Mansion or near Basketball Bing’s highrise, riverfront apartment! Stay tuned….
(Image courtesy of Michigan Citizen)