The Detroit News launched a hit piece on Michael G. Ford, the CEO of the Regional Transportation Authority of Southeastern Michigan this morning. Reporters Robert Snell and Christine MacDonald breathlessly review Mr. Ford’s expense accounting and employment contract details over the 33 months since he was appointed CEO of the RTA.
The closest they get to finding any real improprieties is Mr. Ford’s car allowance and mileage reimbursement, but that does not stop them from reporting salacious details of hotel room charges and his very generous employment contract. No illegality or budget overruns are found, but the tone of the article is supremely negative. Mr. Ford’s contract happens to be up for renewal and the RTA Board tabled a $ 16,300 raise for him two weeks ago.
A special meeting of the RTA Board of Directors was held this morning, including a closed session. Public bodies operating under the Open Meetings Act are only allowed to close meetings when deliberating personnel matters and contracts. It is not much of a leap to speculate that Mr. Ford is today’s main course at the RTA Board meeting.
The Detroit News duo filed an FOIA request for Mr. Ford’s contract details and expense reimbursements shortly after Paul Hillegonds, Governor Rick Snyder’s appointee to the RTA Board, began reviewing Mr. Ford’s expenses. Coincidence? Hardly.
What is going on here?
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Imagine if all industries were subsidized with capture process.
Set the example, right?
Cronyism is still alive and well, and Detroit interests still have their hands out. And maybe it’s not JUST the developers? Detroit’s high taxes, and expensive operating environment has created impediments to natural growth.
Years after Dan Gilbert took money from taxpayers to move his employees into Detroit where they would pay a new income tax, and endure travel challenges, he want to see more of the bottom of the taxpayer purse through capture strategies. And he has cheerleaders.
The Detroit News has opined in favor of taking money from Michigan families and giving it to big developers to subsidize otherwise unprofitable real estate projects. The News wrote:
“In Detroit and other older Michigan cities, rents are still not high enough to fully offset construction costs without incentive packages.”
If the News extended the same logic to its own situation, we might see something like this in a future editorial:
“In Detroit and other old two-newspaper towns, subscription and ad rates are still not high enough to fully offset continuing operations without incentive packages. If we were to get subsidies captured from the taxes paid from our employees, our success would be guaranteed, and [those] taxes would increase!”
Just think of the page rent decreases it could offset!
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