Politics & Prejudices
Screwing us over, yet again
Lansing won't retroactively take things away — from themselves
Published: October 12, 2011
My problem wasn't that she was picked over a bunch of outside candidates who, unlike herself, had run airports before. The issue was that she was given a $200,000 goodbye kiss from County Executive Bob Ficano, paid out of taxpayer money, naturally.
Her Airportness at first indignantly blustered that she was worth every penny and wasn't going to return it. Later, however, after Big Bob called her from China, she had a change of heart, and said she'd give it back. (I wonder if anyone is checking to see if she really did.)
Later, we also learned that her secretary, one Sheri Galofaro-Mendez, also got a "severance payment" of $15,600 to leave one job and take another. Ficano, that old fox, swore he would make sure the henhouse was properly guarded in the future.
You can take that for what it's worth. But what's fascinating to me about all this is the torrent of e-mails I've received from present and former Wayne County employees — some high-ranking.
They say that this is just the tip of the iceberg, and, as one said, if anyone properly investigates the way business is done in Wayne County, "we are in for a Rocky Ride that just might end with someone or some people behind bars."
The question is — will any Detroit newspaper devote a fraction of the resources to this clearly important story that they did in admirably exposing Kwame Kilpatrick? The daily papers still seem to cover KK's every move, though he has long since lost any relevance, except perhaps to whatever warden he may answer to next.
But the story of how Wayne County works is, in all probability, huge. Maybe even bigger than Kwame, given that it involves the whole county, not just that minority of it that lives in Detroit.
No single columnist can adequately take this on, especially when he has other jobs and no prospect of a $200,000 severance.
This, however, shows just how important journalism still is in today's society — and how tragic it is when news organizations refuse to commit their resources to the kind of work that is absolutely essential for the functioning of a free society.
> Email Jack Lessenberry