Detroit City Charter is big problem


In a Wall Street Journal article by an individual who was head of the city Department of Transportation for a year details how the way Detroit's government is organized creates a bureaucratic logjam that makes the decline in services impossible to correct.  He concludes:

The last thing Detroit needs is a bailout. What it needs is to sweep away a city charter that protects only bureaucrats, civil-service rules that straightjacket municipal departments, and obsolete union contracts. A bailout would just keep the dysfunction in place. Time to start over.

I particularly liked this fiddling while Rome burns passage:

Micromanagement by the council was endemic; I once sat for five hours waiting to discuss a minor transportation matter while City Council members debated whether to authorize the demolition of individual vacant and vandalized houses, one by one. There are over 40,000 vacant houses in Detroit.