As we put together our holiday wish lists roughly a year ago, many of us were hopeful that a newly elected leader in Detroit would take the city in a new direction. It would be the third such individual to step into the Mayor’s office in less than a year’s time. Hopes were high for this NBA Hall of Famer and successful businessman with no previous political experience.
After a year in office, Dave Bing has demonstrated that he has what it takes to bring this city back. At a time when we needed a major image makeover and tangible change, Mayor Bing stepped in and showed us integrity, professionalism and a resolve to do the right thing and act in the true interest of his constituents.
Far from a shrinking violet, Bing has not hesitated to take on the status quo, including an established and inefficient municipal bureaucracy, and other longstanding issues such as Detroit schools and abandoned dwellings. On WDIV’s “Flashpoint” today, in fact, Bing referenced an upcoming deadline that billionaire Matty Moroun will soon face regarding finding a buyer for the old Michigan Central Depot.
As he continues a series of Town Hall meetings to discuss his administration’s ambitious Detroit Works Project, Dave Bing continues to break down silos and build relationships – both inside and outside of the city limits. In that way, his consensus building is the best thing to happen to Metro Detroit since the days of Dennis Archer, albeit with an approach and demeanor the suggests greater approachability.
Last week, a PR Advisory Committee meeting for the Detroit Regional News Hub was held in Bing’s office, hosted by his Chief Communications Officer Karen Dumas. As we discussed how best to tell the city’s stories, the Mayor walked in to thank us. Without prodding and to his surprise, our room full of public relations professionals erupted in applause. We, like the city and region are impressed by and rooting for Mayor Bing. He gets it at a time when we absolutely needed him to. In that way, he is a gift – for 2010 and beyond.