• Editor-in-Chief Keith Crain Says Detroit Needs an Overseer

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    The original column

    It’s not going to be too long before Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr finishes his work, folds his tent and returns to Washington to resume a normal life.

    The federal judge overseeing this bankruptcy seems to want to make sure that politicians continue to abide by any court-approved bankruptcy plan that’s approved in coming months.

    It appears the judge has a real concern that the folks who are elected and running our city might easily slip back into the evil or simply bad ways of their predecessors and create another mess like the one that got us here in the first place.

    I think the judge is right. There is a horrible possibility that Detroit could end up just the way it was a few short years ago.

    The temptation is just too great.

    This is not to cast aspersions on our current politicians. But we don’t know how long they will be in office and who will replace them. Certain members of the Detroit City Council have already proved to require oversight for their personal conduct. We don’t have any idea about financial conduct.

    It is time to consider a permanent, independent executive who permanently oversees city finances and operations. Perhaps a federal judge, someone who would be objective and save our elected officials from their own worst enemies — themselves.

    Over the years, Detroit has had various kinds of oversight — a federal consent agreement and monitors for the police department and a federal judge overseeing the water department.

    Giving someone a specific responsibility for oversight might be the ticket for making sure that elected and appointed officials keep the city on track for many years.

    Mary Kramer has since issued a statement that this was a mistake, read her statement on Crain’s Detroit

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