If a candid, positive, inclusive, off-the-cuff and uplifting speech could single-handedly heal Detroit’s problems, Michigan’s largest city would be getting ready to leave the hospital recovery ward. Mayor Mike Duggan hit all of the right points in his first State of the City Address. It was a breath of fresh air.
The Duggan administration is being creative, aggressive, and accountable. He’s off to a good start and has set some ambitious goals. Clearly, he is establishing the right tone by communicating with city employees, Detroit City Councilmembers, state and national legislative leaders, the business community and average Detroit residents.
If there was a weak spot in the mayor’s presentation, it was the lack of fresh young talent on his top-tier leadership team. His management team is experienced but faces we have seen many times before. That’s probably because Duggan is in a Catch 22 situation. He has until September to convince Governor Rick Snyder and Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr that he has assembled an impressive turnaround team capable of managing the city’s affairs. His administration doesn’t have the luxury of time to make mistakes due to inexperience.
Thankfully, Mayor Duggan has set the bar high. But that comes with a price. In the final analysis, the Mayor will be judged on his result, not his cheerleading remarks. Of course, that’s not news to the man many people have credited for the comeback of the Detroit Medical Center.
It’s your time to lead, iron Mike, make the most of it..