Turnaround Expert Talks About Plan for Detroit
Van Conway is a business turnaround specialist. He says if Detroit is to come back, we need to get beyond the politics. “It’s going to take city and state officials to work together, not on the agreement, but on fixing the city.”
Time is of the essence. Conway says we cannot let the city run out of cash, “Because if that happens you have a deep crisis.”
Working to gain union concessions has been key, but Conway says unions are just one piece of the puzzle, “It’s your pension costs, it’s your health and welfare costs for your retirees and your present employees. It’s your sources of income that you take in as a city. And you have to look at the debt.”
In our own families, if we get too deeply in debt, we can call our creditors and ask for better terms. The city might consider a similar option. “In my view the debt has to be evaluated for some type of concession.”
Families also have the option of bankruptcy. Legally, that may not be possible for the City of Detroit. Conway says that may be too bad, “Because in a bankruptcy you can get a lot of things done.”
But even without bankruptcy, there is hope.
Conway said, “I believe if we work together the city’s absolutely fixable. It will be different. Probably smaller, might not offer all the services, but it will be a vibrant city who may have hit the bottom and has a chance to grow and prosper again someday.”