Neil Tambe

Let’s go.

I'm a Detroiter who happens to enjoy writing, national parks, orange juice, the performing arts, and fanciful socks. More than anything though, I aspire to be a good husband, father, and citizen.

Getting real about the EM

If you're a Detroiter (unless you've been living under a rock) you surely heard that Kevyn Orr was named Detroit's Emergency Manager by Governor Snyder.

Let's be clear here. This is not a win. A win would've been sound municipal governance and never being in this mess in the first place. Deservedly, many critics chastise this decision because it's undemocratic (because it strips power from elected officials and transfers it to a non-elected one). It probably is undemocratic. For those who hold that point of view, this is probably the worst possible outcome. I'm not one that makes this argument, but I respect it as legitimate.

For those (like me) who readily distinguish between management concerns and civic ones - and agree with the appointment of an Emergency Manager - this shouldn't be thought of as a day to celebrate. The appointment of an EM is merely the best option amidst a smattering of horrible choices. It's not a good outcome, it's has and always will be a terrible outcome - an EM is what you appoint when you have no options left.

If you're actually excited and pleased that an Emergency Manager has been appointed in Detroit, I think you should reconsider your point of view. See past the rhetoric and power-grabbing and look at the big picture here. An Emergency Manager is not "great". At best, it's less terrible than everything else. At worst, it just sucks.

PS - I'm hoping this post breeds some pragmatic, rather than superficial, discussion about the EM.

Please do say hello: neil.tambe[at]gmail[dot]com