The last in the Michigan Chronicle’s Pancakes and Politics 2013 series proved to be one of the most engaging of the four-part discussion series according to audience members. “It was a very good discussion,” said Joe Rochester, a meeting participant. “These discussions are always good, but this one got very tactical and brought the discussion down to the ground level, instead of 10,000 feet in the air. With the EM in town and the financial crisis things have been negative, but this put some of what we have to do in a positive light.”
Other audience members agreed and many concluded that the “CEO Roundtable” featuring the region’s top business leaders including: CEO, Henry Ford Health System; William F. Pickard, CEO, Global Automotive Alliance; Cindy Pasky, CEO, Strategic Staffing Solutions, and Bud Denker, Chairman, Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix and Sr. Vice President, Penske Corporation offered more insightful and realistic ideas regarding how to fix Detroit’s problems and get residents back to work.
Here are a few select comments:
On employment …
Nancy Schlichting: “Healthcare is the fastest growing job sector in the city. …Education has to improve substantially in all aspects for training young people work in the field. At Henry Ford Health System we offer a program for at-risk young people to work in the health care field. Many of whom might end up in very different situations if they didn’t have this opportunity.”
Politics and policy …
Cindy Pasky: “Let’s start with getting that [city] charter rewritten. … Our expectations are that we find a way to take advantage of the fact that Detroit has council by districts like they did back in the 30s. Let’s get it right this time though. … My job is to find a way to make sure that people are educated and that people are engaged.”
Nancy Schlichting: “We want government that works, public and private partnerships, collaboration and not to have obstruction after obstruction. … It’s really a difficult environment for this mayoral race. We are all concerned about the lack of compromise and the ability to come together for the people that we serve.”
Bill Pickard: “I see another variable. That variable is those members of my generation who found a lot of opportunities and made the most of them, but while we spent time building our businesses and pursuing success, we unfortunately did not participate in building future leaders and getting the best and the brightest in community service. … The business community cannot serve in isolation.”
Detroit's mayoral race ...
Cindy Patsy: "I am going to write Mike Duggan's name in on my absentee ballot."
Bill Pickard: "I wish Mike [Duggan] had stayed in the race, but I think for people ... the biggest issue is public safety. The candidate that best address public safety is best for the job."
Nancy Schlichting: "I support everybody. It doesn’t matter who is the mayor .. we are going to work with them."
Bill Pickard: I believe in competition in the school system to prepare young people and the next generation to serve. … I also support the [president’s] program to forgive student loans.’
Cindy Pasky: “There’s a couple of things we can do. We should look at [education] on a more tactical level. Every business in this room should have interns working this summer, giving them a chance to become involved in the business community and earn some money at the same time.”How do we drive change to address the whole issue
Nancy Schlichting: “Businesses all need to be engaged in education. Kids need exposure and they need it at a pretty young age.”
Nancy Schlichting: “I have never understood why the richest country in the world doesn’t provide healthcare for all its citizens. … For years we have been passing along the cost of the uninsured to the business community. When people get primary care instead of coming to the emergency department we will see the cost decrease.”
Bill Pickard: “While I strongly support the notion of universal health care, we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the fact that this is going to be a tremendous impact on a large number of businesses … small businesses will be severely impacted.”
Nancy Schlichting: “Healthcare is severely impacted as well we have seen a large drop in government payments as we move toward fully implementing the heathcare plan.”