The Dead End Kid

In the relatively short history of the office of Wayne County Executive---not even 30 years---the job hasn't proven to be a launching pad or stepping stone to anything else, politically.

But there have only been three WCEs, anyway.

There was Bill Lucas, the first one, and he served four years (1983-87) before running for governor, and losing. Lucas, the former County Sheriff before becoming the county's first executive, ran unsuccessfully for sheriff again in 2004.

Lucas was followed by the late Ed McNamara, and while he served for four terms, McNamara was in the twilight of his political career, though his machine continued to work long after he retired in 2003.

Now we have Bob Ficano, aka The Little Italian General (LIG).

Ficano, another former Sheriff, is the first of three WCEs to even remotely have to fight to keep his job.

Wayne County Executive has been a job of emperors. No Republican candidate could ever dream of election. And once you're entrenched as the incumbent, you can pretty much write your own ticket---as long as you stay Wayne County Executive.

WCE is a great gig if you can get it. Just be aware that it won't get you anywhere.

Ficano is the first of the three WCEs to be neither retiring nor having his eye on another elected office.

Not that having his eye on something else would be to his benefit.

There has been a lot of talk lately---from county commissioners to the op/ed writers in town---that suggests Wayne County would be better off with Bob Ficano's name being written after the words "Ex-County Executive."

That may be true. In fact, it probably is.

But Ficano isn't close to retirement, as his predecessor and friend-turned-enemy McNamara was, nor is Ficano grooming himself for that next step in public service.

Well, not anymore, he isn't---grooming himself, that is.

With scandal surrounding him and growing like some horror movie, it's all Ficano can do to keep a tightwad's grip on his own power and influence on a daily basis, let alone polishing his resume and primping his portfolio for a run at something bigger and better.

The folks calling for his resignation don't ask the questions: Why should he? What else would he do?

Yeah, it's a selfish thing, but it's true.

Ficano is a lawyer---save the jokes---and could always find a practice to horn in on somewhere.

But it would be off to the private sector with him, for sure. His political career was pretty much stagnant before all the scandal erupted last fall, anyway.

It was stagnant because where would he have gone after WCE?

Governor? No one outstate really gives a crap about the Wayne County Executive, whose HQ is in Detroit. It would be like the mayor of Detroit running for governor.

State Legislature? Would any electorate in its right mind send Bob Ficano to Lansing to represent them, in light of the debacles that have occurred in the past eight months?

Another run at Sheriff? Besides the clear self-demotion aspect of such a move, let's be serious.


Think about the absurd irony there.

So Bob Ficano, I believe, is finished as a public servant---whether he resigns or not, whether he chooses to run for another office or not. Either way, he's finished.

And it was true before all the scandal, given the distinct dead end-ness of his current position.


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