Dave Bing reflects on life as Mayor and making difficult decisions as city headed toward bankruptcy

Detroit (WXYZ) - Several months removed from life in the Mayor's office, Dave Bing took time to reflect on the job and difficult choices he had to make as city leader.

"It was the hardest thing I've ever had to because of the decisions I had to make negatively impacted people's lives," said Bing.

Bing stepped into the spotlight and scrutiny of political life when Kwame Kilpatrick resigned in disgrace.

"I'm glad I did what I did when I did it because I do think we made a difference," Bing said. "If nothing else, we told the truth and let people know how bad things were."

Detroit's financial crisis forced Bing to make many tough decisions. He reduced the city's work force by almost 5,000, saving the city millions of dollars a year. He also paved the way for restructuring of city services that continues today under his successor, Mike Duggan.

"Its easy for me now, in retrospect, to say somebody else should have done this a long time ago but they didn't," said Bing.

Bing had his battles with city council.  He certainly didn't see eye-to-eye with Kevyn Orr, who excluded Bing on many of the decisions he was making as emergency manager. Bing described Orr and Duggan as "smart guys" and also praised the federal judges working the bankruptcy case.

Bing originally came to Detroit in 1966, when the Pistons drafted him second overall. He would win rookie-of-the-year honors during a career that earned him a spot in the Basketball Hall of Fame. Accustomed to success and even adulation as a professional athlete, Bing admits he was hurt by some of the slings and arrows during his four and a half years as Mayor.

"Did you like all of the negative things that people said about you?  No, I didn't like that," Bing said, "but I'm a big boy and I've been in fights before in the NBA and I was prepared, but it was very, very difficult, no doubt about it."





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