Archive for May, 2011


Former GM exec named DPS financial manager

Gov. Rick Snyder announced former General Motors executive Roy Roberts as the new emergency financial manager for Detroit Public Schools Wednesday May 4 at the Michigan Office in the Cadillac Place building in Midtown, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The 72 year-old was the highest-ranking African American in the auto industry. He retired in 2000 after serving as GM Vice President for North American Sales, Service and Marketing.

Former General Motors executive, Ray Roberts, was named DPS emergency financial manager

Gov. Snyder said he wanted someone from the Detroit area and called Roberts, a Bloomfield Hills resident, a team builder with perfect qualifications.

As of now, new decisions or changes have not been planned by Roberts. The current plan for school closures and school board will remain in place until an evaluation can be made to determine if changes should be made, according to Roberts. He will have the authority to modify or cancel union contracts beginning May 17.Roberts is the district’s seventh leader in six years.

He will be paid $250,000 for a one-year contract. Snyder could extend the contract when the year is up. Roberts and Bobb will work closely to work on a transition plan over the next few weeks. He starts his first day on the job on May 15, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Roberts will be met with a load of unpaid bills and a district that has spent a third of its money to repay short-term loans. Robert Bobb was puzzled by the district’s spending when he first arrived.

“In the world I live in you don’t issue bonds to cover ongoing operating expenses,” said Bobb.

The district has accumulated $45.8 million in unpaid invoices dating back to 2009, according to documents from the DPS Office of Accounting. If the bills aren’t paid by June 30, the deficit could go up  and hurt the district’s chances of borrowing, according the Detroit Free Press.

Detroit Public Schools has increased short-term borrowing in order to pay its bills. DPS predicts to make $1.5 billion in revenues. They also plan to have $500 million of it set aside to pay on notes from 2005, 2009 and 2010, according to the district’s March cash flow statement. The money will retire much of that short-term debt, but the district plans to take out more short-term loans next year, according to the statement.

The Michigan education and treasury departments have been monitoring the DPS budget since 2005.

Detroit Public Schools has a $327 million budget deficit, up from $219 million in 2009. About 1% of graduates are college-ready, compared to 16% statewide. The graduation rate for DPS is 62%, compared to 76% statewide. Former superintendent, Connie Calloway believes that the district has a tough road to travel.

“Without a successful public education system, like most of the urban centers, they’re not going to make it,” said Calloway.

Who is Roy Roberts?

Roy Roberts is the ninth of ten children, raised in Muskegon. His father raised him after his mother died at age 2. Roberts graduated from Western Michigan University, where he is  a trustee emeritus.

He currently serves as the managing director and co-founder of a Chicago-based private equity investment firm called Reliant Equity Investors.

Roberts has been named executive of the year by a national magazine. He was also given the American Success Award, presented by former President George Bush.

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This video is just a collection of some photos of Robert Bobb and Roy Roberts.