The recent suspension of Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee illustrates, once again, that Mayor Dave Bing’s administration is no place to go looking for job security. The mayor’s time in office has been a rocky ride, characterized by a high turnover rate for city officials.
“He’s had more people resign, fired, quit than any other mayor that I know of,” Councilman Kwame Kenyatta told the Associated Press Wednesday. “It either says he chooses the wrong people or doesn’t know how to choose the right people.”
Since he became mayor through a special election in May 2009, Bing pressured Godbee’s predecessor Police Chief Warren Evans to resign following sex and reality TV scandals, canned Detroit’s Department of Human Services Director Shenetta Coleman for an incident that involved using federal poverty relief funds to buy furniture and fired his corporate affairs officer Kirk Lewis only to later rehire him as his chief of staff. Bing has also gone through a slew of press secretaries and communications people.
Although this is by no means a definitive list during Bing’s tenure he’s also lost: Deputy Mayor Saul Green; Police Chief James Barren; fire commissioner James Mack Jr.; Chief Operating Officer Robert Buckler; Chief of Staff Shannon Holmes; Group Executives Al Fields and Sue Carnell; Coleman A. Young International Airport Director Delbert Brown; chief administrative officer Charles Beckham; Information Technology Director Sreenivas Cherukuri; Communications Chiefs Stephen Serkaian, Karen Dumas and Dan Lijana; Finance Director Tom Lijana; Deputy Director of Recreation Lee Stephenson; Director of Planning and Development Warren Palmer; and Director of Detroit Workforce Development Department Larry Hightower.