Friday, July 19, 2013
Detroit has been a fiscal, management and PR disaster for years. Yesterday, it hit a new low -- the largest municipal bankruptcy in the US. Assume you are a PR counselor to the emergency manager and mayor of Detroit. What do you say? Detroit will rise again? That seems a hollow promise for a city that has lost much of its population and is known for block after block of abandoned and wrecked housing. Perhaps, we will get through this? Yes, the city will but in what condition when its services barely function and it can hardly pay its police and fire squads. Any positive statement at this time takes personal credibility and faith in the bankruptcy system to work a fiscal turnaround. Who has that credibility? The PR counselor must start with the person to whom citizens and others will listen. There might not be much of that as pension programs are cut and salaries reduced. Any change in the image of the city is going to take time -- maybe a decade or more. And only then will it come about if Detroit finds a new economic base for its existence. Here is a wish for good luck to all those connected with the troubled town.