DETROIT — Detroit Mayor Dave Bing announced today he won’t seek a second term as leader of the financially troubled city, which recently became the largest in the country placed under state oversight.
“My administration has done a tremendous amount of heavy lifting to prepare the runway of success for this city,” Bing said in making the announcement at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.
The 69-year-old professional basketball Hall-of-Famer and ex-steel supply company owner was elected mayor in 2009. At least six other candidates could file to run by the deadline today, setting up an August primary ahead of the November election.
Bing took office having inherited a budget deficit of more than $300 million. It could reach $386 million before July 1.
In March, Detroit became the largest city in the country to fall under state oversight when Gov. Rick Snyder appointed bankruptcy attorney Kevyn Orr as emergency manager. Orr has final say on all city financial matters.
Bing told reporters for months that he was contemplating the decision and waited until today's deadline to announce it.
He stepped into the race for mayor to fill out the remaining months of Kwame Kilpatrick’s second term in office after the former mayor was convicted and jailed on charges related to lying on the stand during a civil trial.
Bing defeated Ken Cockrel Jr. in May 2009 in a special election. Cockrel had moved up to the mayor’s office from his post as City Council president following Kilpatrick’s fall.
In November, Detroit voters elected the founder and owner of the Bing Group, which included a steel supply company Bing founded in 1980.
A reluctant politician, Bing knew the city’s fiscal troubles ran deep, but saw just how severe the debt and deficit were after taking office. He complained that systems crucial to run city operations were antiquated and inefficient.
“You knew that the city was in bad shape,” he told reporters more than two years into his first term. “I didn’t know it was in worse shape than I thought coming in. The reality is we had to be very basic and fix a lot of things.”
Born in Washington D.C., Bing was an All-America guard at Syracuse University and was the second overall pick in the 1966 NBA draft by the Detroit Pistons. He spent a dozen years in the NBA and in 1990 was elected into the professional basketball Hall of Fame. Bing later was named in 1996 as one of the 50 greatest players in the league’s history.