By Tom Quiner
Bill Nojay knows the story about Detroit. He worked for the city.
He gives us an inside look at the dysfunction that permeated Detroit in a piece that appeared in the Wall Street Journal today (“Lessons from a front-row seat for Detroit’s dysfunction”).
He gives us a real feel for structural problems embedded in a government built by liberalism. Here’s a quick recap of his observations.
What did you do?
“Last year, I served as chief operating officer of the Detroit Department of Transportation. I was hired as a contractor for the position, and in my eight months on the job I got a vivid sense of the city’s dysfunction. Almost every day, a problem would arise, a solution would be found—but implementing the fix would prove impossible.”
Was it easy to manage your people?
“Union and civil-service rules made it virtually impossible to fire anyone. A six-step disciplinary process provided job protection to anyone with a pulse, regardless of poor performance or bad behavior. Even the time-honored management technique of moving someone up or sideways where he would do less harm didn’t work in Detroit: Job descriptions and qualification requirements were so strict it was impossible for management to rearrange the organization chart. I was a manager with virtually no authority over personnel.”
Could a bailout fix Detroit”
“The last thing Detroit needs is a bailout. What it needs is to sweep away a city charter that protects only bureaucrats, civil-service rules that straightjacket municipal departments, and obsolete union contracts. A bailout would just keep the dysfunction in place. Time to start over.”
Go to the Wall Street Journal to read his complete analysis of what is wrong with Detroit.