Evans, 65, is no stranger to the executive position. Having served as assistant county executive in Wayne County, Evans has also served as Wayne County Sheriff before moving on to the head of Detroit's police department.
Metro Times: Why are you interested in running for Wayne County Executive?
Warren Evans: I’m disgusted by what’s happened to our county: fiscal mismanagement, corruption and the simple failure to get things done. My background and record is one of getting results: took thousands of felons off the street as sheriff, reduced violent crime by 27 percent as police chief. Managed large budgets and staffs. In short, my view is a leader must lead. And take responsibility for the results. Nowhere is a leader needed more than right now as the head of Wayne county government. People are good at what they have a passion for. I have a passion for participating in good government. This, I believe, makes me the best suited to lead the County at this critical time. I will manage outcomes just like I did in my prior positions.
MT: The county has an accumulated $175 million budget deficit. Is there a way to address that and avoid the risk of insolvency?
WE: The answer is yes. First, we need to know the real numbers. Each time we hear from the current administration, the numbers change. We must start with a thorough forensic audit. Second, I will lead by example: sharing in the sacrifice and running an administration that is totally transparent. I will cut expenses in the executive’s office as an example to the other stakeholders who I will similarly ask for sacrifices. And we need to prioritize what services are critical at the county level.
MT: Do you have any ideas as to how the county can cut costs or raise additional revenue?
WE: I have many ideas. Please find attached my Platform for cleaning up the County.
MT: Is there any aspect of the incumbent’s record that you believe are commendable accomplishments?
WE: The sad truth is that the present incumbent has not served well this County. He doesn’t care about good government and, at best, has been asleep at the switch.
MT: Do you have any criticisms of the incumbent and how his administration has ran?
WE: The list is too long for this a reply. The obvious ones are no hands on management, not hiring people with intelligence and integrity and worrying more about politics than good government. The purpose of being the Wayne County Executive is not to benefit your friends but benefit the citizens of Wayne County. Where is his plan to affect change and to get positive outcomes? Simply stated this administration lacks leadership. The Detroit Free Press got it right when they said that Ficano either was complicit in the corruption that occurred or he was asleep at the wheel when it took place. These are not the qualities of a leader.
MT: If current plans with Bedrock Real Estate Services to redevelop the downtown Wayne County Jail site fall through, how would you address the failed project?
WE: The current jail site was headed for problems from the start. It didn’t address the need for bed space or accommodate moving the courthouses to avoid the significant cost of transporting prisoners. Compounding these design and logistical issues has been so much waste tied to the execution of this project. There is probably no easy solution to this mess created by the current administration. I will need time to do a thorough review before advocating an approach to solve this difficult issue.
MT: The incumbent has indicated the downriver wastewater treatment facilities could be sold to compensate for the budget deficit. Would you support the move?
WE: This plan does not appear realistic: any sale would take time and there’s no evidence of significant purchaser interest. More importantly, this points up the inadequacy of the current administration’s fiscal reduction plan. It relies on revenue that is far from a certainty, a common problem with other elements of the plan.
MT: What have you done personally or professionally to help advance regional cooperation, or other significant causes?
WE: As sheriff, I focused on regional cooperation. I reached out to the Chiefs of Police in the 43 communities and asked how we could help. I also partnered with Macomb County Sheriff Mark Hackel and Oakland County Executive Brooks Patterson to get things done. My record demonstrates this as one of my strengths: the ability to lead in a cooperative approach. The job of the Wayne county Executive is not to create a fiefdom where dictates are issued to each community, but instead works collaboratively with local leaders to support their needs and interests.
MT: Would you support the creation of a regional water authority to oversee the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department? If not, why?
WE: Detroit has an equity stake in this facility that needs to be honored. I certainly understand, however, that suburban parts of the system need to have a voice as well. Discussions should continue as to where a regional water authority is the best mechanism for merging these interests.
MT:. A number of communities in Wayne County have either faced the prospect of emergency management, or have seen Lansing appoint one to handle their finances. What are your thoughts about the current emergency manager law, PA 436?
WE: The goal should be to have effective elected government leaders manage in a way that is fiscally responsible. Democracy and fiscal responsibility are not mutually exclusive.
With the right leadership, Wayne County can avoid an emergency manager. However, if that does happen, I will work with that person in order to achieve the goals I set in running for this office.
MT: What’s your favorite book and movie about politics?
WE: “The Audacity of Hope” by Barack Obama
MT:What’s the best restaurant to dine at in Wayne County?
WE: There are too many to name.
MT: What did we miss? Anything you’d like to touch on?
WE: Wayne County at this critical juncture really needs someone with experience with a proven track record of getting things done. That I am that person has been endorsed by many other leaders and organizations ranging from Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, to Dearborn Mayor John O’Reilly to a host of labor, grassroots and business organizations.
Click here to go back to the 2014 Wayne County executive election guide.