Lame duck quacking

The Archer administration may be a lame duck, but it’s still not taking shots lying down. Mayoral spokesman Greg Bowens says he’ll go out swinging at City of Detroit Auditor General Joe Harris, who’s running what Bowens calls a “pathetic” campaign to replace Archer. The harsh words came in response to news that Harris will soon release a series of reports outlining severe problems in at least three city departments. Although he wouldn’t go into detail, Harris told Metro Times that the Parks and Recreation Department is in for some especially harsh criticism.

What’s interesting is that the mayor’s office is slamming the reports before it even sees them.

Earlier this summer, Harris released a report produced by an outside firm revealing that the department running Detroit’s bus system wastes about $40 million a year. Mayor Archer waved off the analysis, saying it was politically motivated. To avoid that sort of criticism, Harris decided to hold off on releasing any new reports until after the primary — which, barring some sort of divine intervention, will mark the end of Harris’ quest to be mayor. Expect the new reports to be issued sometime around Sept. 19.

It’s his hope that the delay will focus attention on the content of the reports rather than any possible political motives.

“I’ve been a voice in the wilderness. I’ve been screaming, and nobody hears me,” said Harris, who was appointed by the City Council to audit city departments. “Every single response from the Archer administration on the reports is that you can’t believe it because this guy is running for mayor.”

Bowens has a different take. He says the reports are proof that Harris “can’t wait to dance on his political grave. And it’s interesting that every department seems to work badly except his.” Bowens claims the auditor’s report is neither fair nor objective. “Unfortunately, what we’ve seen from that department of late is that it is being used as a personal vehicle for Joe Harris to advance his pathetic political career.”

For its part, News Hits is happy to see that, even in its waning days, the Archer administration is able to handle criticism with the sort of grace and equanimity that has been one of the hallmarks of its administration.

Lisa M. Collins contributed to News Hits, which is edited by Curt Guyette. He can be reached at 313-202-8004 or [email protected]
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