Bill Wild on TV-4’s Flashpoint – May 11, 2014
I had a chance to speak with TV 4’s Devin Scillian this weekend, and he asked a question I hear a lot: Why do you want this job? Because I think I can make a contribution, and focus on the needs of Wayne County taxpayers and residents. Westland has faced problems similar to Wayne County: huge deficits, the loss of state shared revenue, declining property values.
Our city has a balanced budget now, with a five million dollar surplus. I think we can replicate that success. Wayne County does not need an emergency manager; we need an executive with turnaround experience.
Devin also asked about the county’s most recent plan to eliminate its $175 million deficit. You don’t see labor coming to the table, you don’t see the sheriff or the prosecutor or the communities that are being asked to buy county assets. I also don’t see any shared sacrifice – the plan has no cuts from the executive and his department. I can’t see the county commission moving forward on the plan as currently structured.
We also talked about the current county executive’s relationship with Prosecutor Kym Worthy. It’s fractured, to say the least. We’re very fortunate to have a prosecutor as talented and passionate as Kym Worthy; we need a county executive who can reach out and work with her to make public safety a priority. We absolutely need to deal with the rape kits that have gone untested for years. It’s a disgrace and we need to fix it.
Devin asked another question that is on many people’s minds: After all the scandals, how do you change the culture of country government? People want to trust their government again. It starts with hiring people with integrity who are committed to public service. And you’ve got to have a CEO who holds people accountable. In Westland, I’m hands-on, I’m a 24-7 guy. That’s what we need in Wayne County. It’s a $2 billion budget and you’ve got to be watching it.
Thanks to Devin and the team at WDIV’s Flashpoint for a good discussion about the issues facing Wayne County.