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Detroit Medical Center CEO on possible mayoral run: 'I'm a turnaround guy'

Mike Duggan, the powerfully connected CEO of Detroit Medical Center, is considering a run for mayor because he believes he can fix the city.

He also did it at the DMC, which had lost $500 million over the six years prior to his arrival in January 2004. Today, it has more than $2 billion in revenue.

His plan is to take the next 90 days to decide if he'll run. In that time, he's planning to attend 30 house parties, each attended by 15 to 20 people invited to talk about his possible bid for mayor.

Also driving his decision, he said, will be whether he can raise $5 million campaign donation pledges by the end of the year.

He's noted for his deep Wayne County and Detroit political and business community connections that date back to when he served as a deputy county executive from 1987 to 2000 under the late Ed McNamara.

He was a single-term Wayne County prosecutor from 2001 to 2003.Duggan was hired as DMC's president and CEO in January 2004. He said the system's ownership, Nashville-based Vanguard Health Systems Inc., is supportive of his possible run for mayor, and they're in talks of specifically when he would resign to campaign full time.

Duggan would take a significant pay cut if elected mayor, a job that pays $158,558 annually. He gets total compensation of $2.41 million from Vanguard.

Duggan's total compensation from investor-owned Vanguard encompasses base pay of $497,250, bonuses of $603,842 and an estimated $1.3 million in Vanguard stock options if he continues to work at DMC over the next seven years.

Detroit mayoral ballots do not show political party affiliation.

Bing, a former Detroit Pistons basketball player and founder of Bing Steel, was elected in a special election in May 2009, and re-elected to a full four-year term in November of that year.

If he wins, Duggan would be first white mayor of predominantly black Detroit since Roman Gribbs in 1970-74.

He said today that the move was inspired by the possible mayoral bid.

That night, he told his wife, Lori Maher, that he wanted to move to the city. They settled on Palmer Park, where he said Maher rode her bicycle as a teen.

"I was born in this city and worked here for the past 30 years, and have never seen things this bad," he said.

He has a bachelor's and law degree from the University of Michigan.

The campaign director is Tupac Hunter, a state senator whose 5th District includes northwest Detroit, Dearborn Heights and Inkster.

Rebecca Williams is his campaign treasurer.

Looming over everything is the city's $200 million budget deficit and the shadow of possible bankruptcy and a state-appointed emergency financial manager coming in to run Detroit — making the mayor and city council almost powerless.

Though the team determined there is governmental financial crisis in the city, Gov. Rick Snyder didn't appoint an emergency manager. Instead, the city and the state settled on a consent agreement that specified reforms for Detroit and granted some emergency manager powers to Bing, and creating the position of a city program manager who is charged with carrying out the reforms.

At the time, he called such a role a "tragic mistake" for the city.

Duggan said he'll vote for the act to be overturned.

Duggan as mayor would inherit the battle with the city's public unions over cost-cutting wage and benefit changes.

"I have no interest in any other job," Duggan said, adding that he would not leave the hospital system for any job other than the mayorship.
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