What happened on November third?
While the city, the state and the country was counting ballots and recovering from the elections, the Detroit City Council quietly awarded a contract valued at $150 million to Detroit Edison of Ann Arbor.
There wasn’t any news coverage.
None of the City Council held a public hearing nor did they hold a press conference.
Mayor Bing did not provide any announcement.
None of these persons even announced anything about how this contract was going to help the city.
Instead a city crying broke and reducing the pay for city employees, city residents, found millions to give away to a company not located in Detroit. Mayor Bing and the majority of the city council voted against producing our own electricity and stimulating Detroit’s economy. The contract goes to a company that will not contribute back to the city of Detroit.
Most of the council members who voted in favor of the contract received campaign contributions from DTE ( http://voiceofdetroit.net/?p=2201 ) or from people who work for DTE. Council member Gary Brown was a stock owner of DTE. His committee approved the contract and setup the vote before the entire city council. his ownership of DTE stock having now claimed that he sold in on November third, meant that decisions he made affecting DTE and this $150 million contract occurred while he had a financial interest in the company. Gary Brown was in a position to deflect negative criticism of DTE and promote the award of this contract. A clear conflict of interest and probably violation of the ethics policy. If the city’s ethic policy had teeth he would probably have to resign his seat.
Mayor Bing was a twenty year board member of DTE. He has now hired several executives for the city who used to be employed by DTE. This contract was not put up for competitive bids. This means that no other company had the opportunity to compete and possibly lower the price paid by Bing and the city council. This is not a privatization of the Public Lighting Department. This is an elimination of the city department and more elimination of city jobs. This action mothballs the equipment the city owns and operates. This eliminates Detroit’s ability to provide out own electricity and even sell it to earn revenue to pay for city services. This pushed money out of the door without any money coming in as a replacement. This will only increase Detroit’s debt not reduce the deficit. This further hurts Detroit and the people who call Detroit their home.