Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, the Hall of Fame basketball player who became a businessman before turning to politics, announced on Tuesday that he will not seek another term.
Bing's announcement that he would step down after one term was widely expected after a challenging period in which Detroit continued to see its tax base and services erode and when the city’s finances were taken over by a state-appointed emergency manager.
Detroit’s 70th mayor said he will look into other opportunities politically, adding that he was considering running for the position of executive of Wayne County, which encompasses Detroit and nearly all of its suburbs.
“Over the last four years, I’ve made unpopular decisions,” Bing said, speaking to an audience at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. “My devotion to Detroit and Detroiters is unwavering. I love the compassion, the tenacity and the commitment of Detroiters. That’s why I stayed."
Bing made his decision public on a day that dramatized how much power had left the position of mayor of Michigan’s largest city, coming just hours after the emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, named a new police chief for the city.
Orr announced the appointment of James Craig, the police chief of Cincinnati, to run the police department in Detroit. Craig is a native of Detroit who has been at the helm of the Cincinnati police force for two years.
Craig began his career in law enforcement as a police office in Detroit in 1977 and worked there for four years until joining the Los Angeles Police Department. He rose to the rank of captain before retiring from the force in 2009. He then became police chief of Portland, Oregon, where he presided over a 10 percent decline in crime. He moved to Cincinnati in 2011.
Orr was appointed to the position of emergency financial manager in March by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican.
Bing ran for mayor in 2009 in a special election to fill the seat of Kwame Kilpatrick, who resigned in scandal and has since been convicted of extortion, bribery and racketeering. In his remarks, the mayor said his administration had accomplished “a tremendous amount of heavy lifting to prepare the runway” for the city to rebound.
The decision by Bing, a former Detroit Pistons All-Star player, not to seek r-election sets the stage for what is expected to be a busy and crowded campaign among a half-dozen candidates seeking to succeed him.
Bing was widely credited for operating a scandal-free administration and moving the city forward. However, he has been criticized by many Detroiters, including some elected officials, for not being bold enough in advocating a vision for the city and for reacting to events rather than leading them.
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(Photo: AP Photo/Paul Sancya)