With just a few hours before the polls open for voters in Detroit to elect its 75th mayor, the next 100 days will be crucial and will set the tone for Detroit to re-emerge from its current state of chaos.
In 100 days, winter will have set on the city of Detroit and the the 2014 Winter Olympics will be well under way in Sochi. In addition, the new Mayor will have already survived his first snow fall and The North American International Auto Show. However, beginning the night of the election, the Mayor-elect should be able to set the tone for his administration and layout his vision for strengthening the city.
From the very beginning Detroit's new mayor must lay out a clear vision for the city. The people of Detroit and the region need to be able to join the new mayor to reaffirm Detroit's strength and to enlist our support in moving it forward -- together.
At first their vision can be broad, but then in the weeks between the election and the day they take office, the Mayor-elect should hold a series of facilitated meetings with key stakeholders to share their vision, solicit feedback and advise and enlist their support in implementing their vision.
This should include a series of facilitated discussions where problems are presented and communities are engaged in solving those problems together. The new mayor should begin to set the stage for open dialogue in Detroit to re-frame the issues facing our city and reset the way we approach problem solving.
Through this visioning process, the Mayor-elect can then begin to build his team to wrap-around that vision. A core of advisors should emerge from their campaign and transition to the 11th floor of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, but the new mayor should seek professional support, not only from within the city, but outside the city, even outside the state, to join his administration to help implement the plan.
Every week should be choreographed and mapped out, between now and the mayor's official start date. For example, meetings with Mayor Dave Bing to discuss the transition, meetings and aggressive outreach to Detroit's City Council where we will see so many new faces around the table, meetings with labor, the business community, faith based community, regional and state leaders and the Mayor of Windsor.
The new Mayor should immediately begin to bring people together to solve problems. There is a strong role for the new mayor, even with an Emergency Manager in place. The new Mayor can create the plans for re-emerging from bankruptcy and get everything ready. The new mayor can get out in the community every day and showcase everything the city has to offer -- both good and bad. They must travel to Lansing and meet with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. And they should travel to Washington and meet with officials who can bring additional resources to the city They should also seek immediate opportunities to immerse themselves in the U.S. Conference of Mayors and utilize the resources this organization has for cities like ours.
However, the most important thing for the new mayor to do is to be visible. Eat in our local restaurants, shop in Detroit's shops. Take the bus to work every now and then and get out and never stop talking to people.
Regardless of who wins on Election Night, the new mayor must usher in a new generation of Detroit politics. One in which barriers are shed and the wall between the Mayor and Council is torn down. This city can no longer waste time mirrored in politics and now we must all work together, with the Mayor as the leader with the Mayor as the one with the vision to see it through.