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Mike Duggan was elected as Mayor of Detroit on November 5, 2013 and took office on January 1, 2014. As Mayor, he governs the city of his birth and where he spent the previous 32 years of his career collaborating with others to solve some of the city’s most vexing issues.
While Mayor Duggan was elected largely on his track record of leading successful large-scale financial and operational turnarounds, Detroiters responded strongly to his deep love for the city, which can be seen in his work over the years. During his career he has taken on challenges and untangled problems that directly impact the quality of life of Detroiters, including access to health care, public transportation, crime, blight, expanding recreational opportunities in the city, job creation and more.
His immediate priority as Mayor has been to implement a coordinated strategy to address the numerous challenges residents have faced over the years, most notably, blight, public lighting, transportation and public safety.
During his first year in office, the city has made significant progress in each of these areas, although he is the first to admit that much work remains. Thanks to new partnerships with Detroit City Council, as well as in Lansing and Washington, D.C., the city now is removing blight at a record pace, has installed more than 35,000 new LED streetlights, secured the purchase of 80 new DDOT buses through federal funds and significantly reduced both police and EMS response times.
To achieve these initial successes, Mayor Duggan has done as he always has: First listen to workers and residents, who best understand the problems and partner with unions, employees, community organizations, business leaders and others to develop sustainable solutions. At the center of these solutions is a culture of accountability that begins with the Mayor and his leadership team and extend throughout all levels of city government.
As city finances stabilize and services continue to improve, the Mayor is now focusing his energies on economic growth in the city and creating pathways to opportunity for Detroit residents. His ultimate goal is to reverse the 60-year population decline that began around the time he was born.
As a young boy, Mayor Duggan lived on Stansbury near Fenkell and Schaefer on the city’s west side and attended Catholic Central High School when it was still in the city on W. Outer Drive. While most of his friends were leaving Michigan to attend college in places like New York and Chicago, Duggan was committed to staying in the Detroit area, and attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor for his undergraduate studies and law school.
Mayor Duggan is humbled to have the opportunity to help restore the city of his childhood to new greatness. Duggan’s first job out of college was at a law firm in downtown Detroit, to which he rode the bus to work every day until he could afford his first car. He later was hired to work in the Wayne County law department and before long was tapped to serve as Deputy Wayne County Executive under Ed McNamara from 1987 through 2000.
It was in his role as Deputy CEO that Duggan’s management skills and commitment to his hometown began to display themselves.
During his tenure Duggan oversaw 14 straight balanced budgets and a fully funded pension system, led the effort to bring the Detroit Lions back downtown, Co-chaired the construction of Comerica Park and Ford Field, and negotiated the deal with the Clinton Administration that led to the construction Metro Airport’s spectacular midfield terminal.
During this time he also stepped in to run the SMART bus system, which was facing the threat of shutting down. In three years, he turned around the organization’s finances and partnered with unions to improve reliability, expand service in Detroit and increase ridership.
As Wayne County Prosecutor from 2001-2003, Duggan led efforts to reduce gun crime and to address the problem of vacant homes across Detroit by seizing 1,000 abandoned homes and selling them to new owners who fixed them up and got them reoccupied.
Before running for Mayor, Duggan again partnered with workers and unions to lead the Detroit Medical Center out of near bankruptcy and back to profitability in his first year (2004). Today, the DMC is undergoing $850 million in new construction as part of a deal Duggan negotiated as CEO.
Duggan ran his 2013 mayoral campaign on a platform that “every neighborhood has a future.” During the campaign he spoke directly with nearly 20,000 Detroiters at the 250 gatherings he attended in living rooms, coffee shops, barbershops and salons, as well as church halls. It was out of these intimate meetings that Duggan’s vision for the city crystallized.
Duggan says that as Mayor, he will continue to be accessible and will host frequent community conversation to help him keep in touch with Detroit residents, their needs and their evaluation of the city’s progress.
Duggan and his wife, Lori, are the proud parents of four adult children, Mary, Eddie, Carolyn and Patrick.
After joining the Detroit Police Department in 1965, Isaiah “Ike” McKinnon rose through the ranks to become Police Chief under Mayor Dennis Archer from 1994-1998. He graduated from the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia and holds a doctorate in higher education administration from Michigan State University, a master's degree in criminal justice from Mercy College of Detroit, and a bachelor's degree in history and law enforcement from the University of Detroit. McKinnon is an associate professor of education at University of Detroit Mercy.
ormerly a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, Dr. O'Cleireacain is an expert with experience at the highest levels of state and local government finance. She is particularly knowledgeable about the finances of fiscally troubled states and localities. She has held positions as Deputy Treasurer of the State of New Jersey, Finance Commissioner, and then Budget Director of New York City, the nation’s fourth largest taxing authority.
One of Dr. O'Cleireacain's primary responsibilities will be to identify new sources of external funding to make the city less dependent on annual tax revenues. Among her other assignments will be working with the Chief Financial Officer in tackling the financial aspects of the city’s emergence from bankruptcy, including the restructuring of the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department with the recently approved Great Lakes Water Authority.
Dr. O'Cleireacain holds a Ph. D. in Economics from the London School of Economics and an MA and BA with distinction in Economics from the University of Michigan.
Alexis Wiley serves as Chief of Staff for the City of Detroit. She was named to the position in May 2014, shortly after joining the administration in February and Director of Community Engagement. In her role as Chief of Staff, Alexis is responsible for overseeing the city's 9,000-member workforce, the hiring of top level administration officials and leading many of the Mayor's key initiatives, including the transfer of authority over the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department from the city's emergency manager to the Mayor. Prior to joining city government, Alexis was a reporter and anchor for Fox 2 News in Detroit, where she reported regularly on issues that affected Detroit residents. Alexis is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and now lives in the city of Detroit..
Most recently, Melvin “Butch” Hollowell served as general counsel for the Detroit Branch NAACP and president of Melvin Butch Hollowell, P.C. Additionally, he was the chief legal counsel to Mayor Duggan’s campaign before being named as the City’s Corporation Counsel. Hollowell has served as co-chair of the State Democratic Party and as a deputy Wayne County Executive during the Edward McNamara administration.
Chief James Craig came to Detroit after serving in the same post in the Cincinnati Police Department for two years. Previously, he spent two years as chief of the Portland Police Department in Maine. A native Detroiter, Chief Craig started his police career here in the City in 1977. After a downsizing of the Detroit Police Department, he joined the Los Angeles police force and remained there for 28 years.
John Hill is a certified public accountant specializing in municipal finance. Hill is the former CEO of the non-profit Federal City Council in Washington, D.C. While working in the nation’s capital, he helped to restructure D.C.’s financial and operational management systems and improve the delivery of city services.
Beth Niblock was named Detroit’s Chief Information Officer after serving 11 years as CIO for Louisville Metro, the combined local government for the City of Louisville and Jefferson County, Kentucky. Prior to becoming Detroit’s CIO, she was a member of the technology team led by the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy that visited the city in 2013 to identify ways to grow and improve city services through the use of information technology.
As the Group Executive for Operations, Gary Brown is responsible for ensuring the continued improvement of city services. He was initially hired as Chief Compliance Officer by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, after spending four years as president pro tem on City Council. Prior to being elected to council, Brown was deputy chief of the Detroit Police Department’s Professional Accountability Bureau. His career with the police department spanned 26 years.
Thomas Lewand has been tasked with creating initiatives and opportunities that will put Detroiters to work and increase economic growth in the City. Previously, he was chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party and a partner at Bodman, PLC. Lewand is noted for his role in helping to negotiate the agreement between the City of Detroit, Wayne County and the Detroit Lions to build Ford Field. He has served on the boards of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Wayne County Economic Development Corporation.
One of Mayor Duggan’s priorities was to create a single department to oversee city services that impact neighborhoods. Charlie Beckham leads the new Department of Neighborhoods, which has a director stationed in each of the seven City Council districts. Additionally, Beckham manages the Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department. He has served as an advisor in every mayoral administration since Coleman Young.
Dan Dirks brings 25 years of local and national experience in public transportation to his role as director of the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT). He is responsible for coordinating the City’s overall transportation services, including DDOT, the People Mover, and the M-1 Rail. Previously, Dirks served as general manager of the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) from 1998 – 2007. Most recently, he operated his own transportation consulting company in Louisville, Kentucky.
As the City's Human Resources Director, Denise Starr is charged with streamlining the recruitment and retention processes. Starr joined the City from Compuware where she played a lead role in building the company's workforce. She held positions of increasing responsibility in facilities and administration, including Manager, Director, Senior Vice President, Executive Vice President of Human Resources, and Chief Administrative Officer.
A lifelong and committed Detroiter, Lisa Howze graduated from Cass Technical High School. She holds a bachelor of business administration degree in accounting from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, and a master of science in finance degree from Walsh College. She previously served as a lawmaker in the Michigan House of Representatives from 2011 to 2012. As Chief Government Affairs Officer to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Howze primarily serves as the City’s liaison to Lansing and the Michigan Legislature.
Before joining the City, Iris Ware led the design, development and implementation of the training function and organizational strategy for Detroit Manufacturing Systems. In the position of Chief Learning Officer, Ware is responsible for the design, development and implementation of talent development and performance management systems.
She holds a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University, a Master's degree from Wayne State University, a Personnel Agent license from the State of Michigan and is currently a Doctoral Candidate at Wayne State University.