In an exclusive interview with Local 4’s Rod Meloni on Tuesday, Jack Martin opened up about the major financial troubles plaguing Detroit and Highland Park.
Martin is one of the 10 people who have been appoint by the state to review Detroit’s finances. He also was appointed as the emergency financial manager of the Highland Park School District.
Martin is a professional auditor and former U.S. Department of Education executive who has served under three presidents.
On Detroit, Martin said the city is facing tough money woes but will be able to pull through.
“I would say anything other than an emergency manager or bankruptcy. I think, hopefully, I would vote for a consent decree. But it has to be a consent decree with teeth.”
Martin said he’s seen the city’s books and doesn’t think the city will run out of cash in the coming months.
“My personal guess is that it will be no less than five years. It’s going to be a while, a long time,” he said.
Martin said he’s seen cities like Washington D.C. come back from being farther than Detroit.
“There is business moving in. I’m really happy to see it. I drive through Boston Edison and I see young white kids on the streets jogging, populating the downtown area. We need more of that,” he said.
Over in Highland Park, Martin has already begun work on alleviating financial stress in the school district and assuring parents.
The district is $11 million in debt and has only 1000 students.
“The seniors will graduate from Highland Park High School and that will remain open through June. The teachers will be paid and, depending on what happens, we’ll make decisions,” he said.
Martin said bringing charters schools into the area is an option.