Two days after delivering a much-anticipated speech outlining Detroit’s fiscal problems, Mayor Dave Bing announced he would eliminate 1,000 positions — or 9% of the city’s workforce — by the end of February.
The announcement came amid criticism that Bing’s proposals to save the city from state takeover do not go far enough. City Council members have spent weeks saying the mayor lacks the political will to make the necessary layoffs.
The city will also impose a hiring freeze, the mayor’s office said in a statement.
“Layoffs will be strategic,” Bing said. “We will limit the impact on residents, protecting core services like police and fire protection as much as we can.”
In last Wednesday’s televised speech, Bing proposed several steps he said would avoid a state takeover, including unions agreeing to $40 million in cuts, and by accepting 10% across-the-board pay cuts and higher health care and pension contributions.
He wants the city’s current 22,000 retirees to agree to the same medical and pension concessions and proposed a sale or lease of the Detroit lighting department as well as privatizing management of the bus system.
The mayor said the state should release $220 million of revenue aid that was promised to Detroit several years ago when it agreed to lower its income tax.
He also proposed a new tax on businesses, though details were scarce.