Detroit’s Bankruptcy Means This Year May Represent our most important election

Longtime Michigan Chronicle publisher Sam Logan taught me lots of things. One of the most important lessons I ever learned from him was that in all aspects of life, whether business, political, social or personal, its about communication and education.

With that in mind I thought with everything going on in our city right now I would reach out through the Michigan Chronicle to talk about why this year’s mayoral and city council election is so important to Detroit, and our future.

There will be those who say this election is irrelevant because of the bankruptcy. They couldn’t be more wrong. This may be one of the most important elections we have ever had in Detroit. Who we choose for mayor and for city council will set the tone for our city’s future, and ultimately, the new business model for Detroit.

We need people leading our city who will speak for our citizens and ensure Detroit is clean, safe and inviting for everyone in every neighborhood. They must be able to put personal issues aside and work with and reach out to Kevyn Orr in his position as emergency financial manager and all those involved in the bankruptcy proceeding.

They need to help move Detroit through the bankruptcy process as quickly as possible. It cannot drag out. Our future depends on it. Dragging this out could easily make our city irrelevant in the eyes of new business and in our efforts to attract more talented people to our city.

And, most of all, they must be able to step up to the plate when our city emerges from bankruptcy. In short, they must be catalysts for change and for creating a new business model for our city.

We need Detroiters to do that.

We need leaders, not politicians. The political process is simply a way for us to vote for the leaders of our choice.

So how do we find them? We look for individuals who are honest, have the ability to delegate, can communicate, have a sense of humor, have a positive attitude, are inclusive, have the ability to inspire others and are committed to Detroit. They must also be able hire a staff with the same attributes. Leading the right staff is essential.

They must also be versatile. The people we elect will have to do the most important jobs we have in society — health, education, safety and welfare.

Like doctors and nurses who heal the sick, they must help heal Detroit.

Like teachers, they must help educate our citizens and businesses as well as the nation and the world about Detroit’s potential.

Like police officers and firefighters, they must fight to ensure our city is safe and secure.

Like welfare workers and care givers, they must ensure all Detroit’s residents are cared for and given the services they need.

That will take regional cooperation and neighborhood collaboration and tremendous listening and leadership skills.

Detroit and all of its communities need leaders who can lead the people and all Detroit communities to form a new business model for our city. They need to provide an environment that makes business and people come to the city or continue to stay Detroit. And, they must be willing to nurture them with the only reward being the success of seeing them become strong, active members of the Detroit community.

The future of Detroit is truly in the hands of us, the voters. Please do your part on August 6 in the primary and again in November. Please take time to understand the process. This year is complicated with a write-in candidate. If you choose that option make sure you write in the name and fill in the circle.

As always, Sam was right. It is all about education and communication. Thank you, Sam.

Cynthia S. Pasky is the founder, president and CEO of Strategic Staffing Solutions (S3), a Detroit-headquartered global IT and business services company, and chair of the Downtown Detroit Partnership.

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