Detroit Public Schools, Emergency Financial Managers — October 13, 2016 at 9:42 am

Former Detroit Schools Emergency Manager who increased debt by 50% being paid a quarter million dollars to rescue Virginia city


When Robert Bobb was appointed to be the Emergency Financial Manager for Detroit Public Schools in 2009, the district was $219 million in debt. When he left two years later, the debt had ballooned by 50% to $327 million. This is one of the legacies of Emergency Management in Michigan.

Another of the legacies is that people who failed colossally in their efforts to cut their way to rebuilding struggling school districts and municipalities go on (or at least try to go on) to leverage that into gainful employment. For example, disgraced former Education Achievement Authority Chancellor John Covington has been working hard to land another superintendent job but has been rebuffed multiple times.

Robert Bobb is no exception except that, rather than being rebuffed, his company, The Robert Bobb Group which he formed less than a year after leaving Detroit, has been hired by the Petersburg City Council in Virginia to rescue their city from financial calamity.

The Petersburg City Council on Tuesday decided to spend more than a quarter-million dollars — during a financial crisis that threatens the city’s existence — to enter into emergency negotiations with the Robert C. Bobb Group.

In a 5-1 vote — with Councilman David Coleman absent and Councilwoman Treska Wilson-Smith dissenting — the city’s leaders said the deal with Bobb’s financial consulting company is meant “to preserve the interests of the city to maintain the proper functioning of the government.”

I have to give the guy credit. Not everyone could go from increasing a school district’s deficit by over $100 million in just two years to being seen as a savior for a city facing a financial emergency. That’s good marketing, for sure.

It makes you wonder if they actually have Google in Petersburg, Virginia…