We've seen this movie run its course more than a few times, and it rarely ends well for the person whose name appears atop the marquee.
This time, it is Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano sitting in the glare of a spotlight he surely wishes was focused elsewhere.
Face it, Bob. When a public official such as yourself is at the center of a scandal like the one currently embroiling your administration, it is usually only a matter of time before the word "former" starts appearing permanently in front of your name.
It always starts out the same. A scandal of some sort erupts. In this case, it is the outrageous secret severance deal provided to former county development director Turkia Mullin that started things rolling downhill. Reporters, smelling blood, begin looking for more dirt — and find it. In Wayne County, a picture has emerged of a county administration rife with cronyism and benefits so lavish as to make a working stiff's head spin.
Following the script for scandals, the feds pick up the scent as well. A grand jury is formed. Raids are conducted. Indictments start getting handed down to people who are close to you. In this case, the feds are investigating allegations of kickbacks and other misdeeds; there have been two indictments so far.
Claims of ignorance come initially, then adamant denials of wrongdoing. Some staffers are broomed and blamed; new faces are brought in. There is much contrition over having not kept a tighter rein on political appointees. Apologies, profuse and seemingly sincere, are issued.
But in the eyes of the public, when things reach the point they now have for Ficano, the conclusion is usually this: Either the person who is supposed to be in charge is involved, or they have proven themselves to be a complete dolt, pathetically uninvolved, incapable of running a clean administration.
And that means it is usually only a matter of time before an exit is made.
So, we here at the Hits figure, why not have some sport with this still unfolding scandal?
Which brings us to our Exit Poll contest. We are inviting our readers to predict the day and time when it is officially announced that Robert A. Ficano is no longer Wayne County's chief executive.
For the grand prize of a "Detroit Hustles Harder" T-shirt predict the date and time of the announcement and manner of exit: resignation before the end of his term in 2014, successful recall election, or completes term and leaves office. Ties will be settled with a random draw. Please send entries to [email protected]
You can also bet on Ficano finishing his term and winning re-election to another. If that proves a winner — we'll also send a T-shirt to Ficano to wear as an alternate to his hairshirt.