Mike Duggan spells out his plan for Detroit's future - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Mike Duggan spells out his plan for Detroit's future

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Mike Duggan thanked his supporters Tuesday night in Detroit. Mike Duggan thanked his supporters Tuesday night in Detroit.

DETROIT (WJBK) -- Former medical center chief Mike Duggan defeated Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon in Tuesday's general election to become Detroit's next mayor.

Unofficial results showed Duggan with 55 percent of the vote compared to Napoleon's 45 percent.

Duggan joined FOX 2 on Wednesday to talk about his vision, his plan and how he's going to work the city's state-appointed emergency manager.

Q: Before we talk about your first, second and third order of business, let's talk about why you wanted to run for mayor of Detroit. Why did you want this job during such a difficult time for the city?


Duggan: Well, I wanted it because it was such a difficult time for the city. When you're running the largest hospital system in the city, you see the suffering of our residents every day in our emergency rooms and our clinics. The children that have come through with bullet wounds at Children's Hospital. It just felt like the city was going to wrong way. I thought I could help. I guess the voters of Detroit felt like I could, too.

Q: So you saw that things were going to wrong way. So how do you plan to turn things around?

Duggan: I'm going to try to do what I said the whole campaign. I'm going to bring in a first class team that is from this community. We're going to get the police to show up, going to get the street lights on, get the abandoned houses fixed up and occupied, not just demolished. First, I have to come to an understanding with the Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr and Governor (Rick) Snyder about what a partnership would look like. We'll see if we can work something out that works for everybody.

Q: And in a city that is asking a judge to declare it bankrupt, you have quite a few things to accomplish. Fighting blight, police response time. How do you plan on paying for this in a city with no money?

Duggan: If you would to back up to ten years when I came to DMC, a hospital that hired bankruptcy lawyers and I said we would build it into a first class system. People said how would you do it without money? When you bring in the right leadership, you cut your costs, build revenues and set your priorities. I've done it every place I've been. I think the bankruptcy, assuming it's allowed to go forward, will give us a fresh start. But we're losing $100 million a year in income tax revenue. They live in the city and work in the suburbs. The Detroit computers are so out of date, they don't know who is paying and who is not. Those things need to be fixed. I'm anxious to get at it.

Q: You mentioned during the campaign that you have a plan to save the pensions of city workers that are in debate right now at the Detroit bankruptcy filing. How do you propose doing that? A lot of seniors, a lot of people that have spent 10, 20, 30 years of their lives working for the city of Detroit are now wondering if that was all for naught.

Duggan: Well, I do believe the pensions have to be protected. I think they will be protected. I think Judge Rhodes comments this week were encouraging. Out of the $12 billion in debt the city has, only $2 billion is related to the retiree pensions. Detroit is paying for its healthcare in the most grossly expensive manner possible. My position in the beginning has been that I think we can sit down with a union and structure a deal on healthcare like the UAW did with GM, Ford and Chrysler and will save far more. So I'm going to fight hard to keep them protected. I believe there's other areas where there will have to be sacrifice, but we can find a fair solution.


Q: Your predecessor, Mayor Bing, had a tough time working with city council. You have for the most part a brand new city council. You're working with an emergency manager. Have you spoken to any of the members of the city council yet? If so, how do you plan to forge a relationship where you can work together to make sure that Detroit is turned around and thrive?

Duggan: Most of these council members have been my friends for years. I haven't reached out yet. I'll let them sleep in. I'll call them later this morning.

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