Bing Won’t Seek Re-Election as Detroit Mayor

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Bing criticized a decision by a regional council of governments to cut funding to the city’s bus department while increasing allocations to a suburban bus system. He also said Lansing’s approval of the development of a water and sewer system in Genesee County shows an unwillingness to truly help Detroit. Flint and other cities in Genesee County currently pay Detroit for water and sewer services.

He told reporters for months that he was contemplating the decision and waited until Tuesday’s deadline to announce it. He said, however, he will form an exploratory committee for a possible run for Wayne County executive.

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.

(Photo: AP)

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