Layoffs of 165 firefighters just start of draconian cuts

By Steve Neavling

Now it’s getting real.

State oversight and decades of mismanagement have culminated in the layoffs of 165 Detroit firefighters at a time when blazes are tearing through neighborhoods at rates unseen for years.

Mayor Dave Bing made the announcement today as part of an unprecedented series of cuts in an effort to eliminate the city’s mammoth deficit.

The size of the layoffs speak to the enormity of the city’s financial troubles and what is to come. Expect similarly draconian cuts to the police department, bus services and street lights.

What does this mean?

More people will die. Neighborhoods will go dark and vacant. Residents relying on bus services may wait hours for a ride.

It’s an unthinkable reality in a city pummeled by poverty, racism and violence.

It’s also testament to what happens when your elected leaders disregard mounting deficits and continue spending more money than your city has.

In Detroit, we’ll be paying for past mistakes long into the future.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.