DETROIT – Detroit mayor Dave Bing, who said last week that his job was the second hardest in the country behind President Obama, is facing a recall effort led by a state representative. The recall effort comes at a crucial time as the city is facing potential bankruptcy and city workers face potential layoffs starting in January.
“In order to compensate for the deficit, the city will begin to institute unpaid furloughs and other cost-saving actions, effective January 1, 2013,” Bing said on Nov. 21. “We will ensure that revenue-generating departments are not impacted by these cost-cutting measures. These actions are necessary to keep the City from falling into further financial distress.”
State Rep. John Olumba (D-Detroit) filed the recall petition in October, but the original language was rejected. The recall claims that Bing has reduced public hours to police precincts, thus jeopardizing public safety.
Olumba has previously asked Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette to investigate Bing on charges of fraud and embezzlement, but that request was quickly denied. Bing made waves last week saying that he feels that many city employees, including elected officials, have a “sense of entitlement” and he has often dismissed detractors as being part of a vocal minority.
“You’ve got a very small percentage of our population that speaks out very loudly,” Bing told theGrio in August. “The unfortunate thing is that a vast majority of our citizens are willing to stand on the sideline and let this minority group yell, scream, and get people excited without knowing facts. It’s all emotional.”
The recall effort, which needs to have 43,000 approved signatures to trigger a special election in February, comes at a peculiar time. There is already a mayoral election in 2013 with a primary scheduled for May and a general election set for November.
If there were a recall election, it would cost the city between $500,000 and $1 million. It could become an even larger mess in the event that Bing – currently finishing his first full term as mayor and likely running for a second – is recalled from office, setting up an identical situation to what occurred in 2009.
Bing was initially elected mayor during a May 2009 special election to fill the seat of former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. He then won the regularly scheduled primary and general elections in August and November, with the elections costing the city millions of dollars in the process.
“Say they recall him. Then, you’ve got [Detroit City Council President] Charles Pugh as mayor,” Detroit political consultant Adolph Mongo told WDIV. Mongo feels that Bing would not win re-election but thinks a recall effort now makes absolutely no sense.
“Then we have three mayors [in a year], because I don’t think Pugh could get re-elected, or get elected,” Mongo said. “That would be (potentially) six mayors in four years? And they wonder why the city is where it is now.”
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