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Governor Snyder appoints new financial manager for Detroit schools

Governor Snyder introduces Roy Roberts Wednesday
Sarah Cwiek
Michigan Radio
Governor Snyder introduces Roy Roberts Wednesday

Governor Rick Snyder has appointed former GM Executive Roy Roberts to take over as the Detroit Public Schools’ Emergency Financial Manager.

Roberts has had a distinguished career in business and is considered a pioneer for African-Americans in the auto industry.

Snyder says he chose Roberts because he’s a “successful businessman and team builder.”

Roberts says he’s genuinely “excited” to tackle the daunting task of improving Detroit schools.

“This is a mission with me. This is what I want to do. I want to be absolutely focused, and I’m not going to let anybody in this state deter me from that.”

The current Emergency Financial Manager, Robert Bobb, was appointed in 2009. During his tenure, the district’s deficit increased to more than $320 million.

Roberts will start working this month. He’ll transition into the job alongside Bobb, whose contract expires June 30th.

Roberts says newly-expanded powers for Emergency Financial managers will let him move even “more quickly and aggressively” than Bobb to confront the district’s financial and academic problems.

But Roberts also says he has no immediate plans to modify any of Bobb’s efforts.

“I don’t really have to respond to a school board. I don’t have to respond to the politics or idiosyncrasies of the school board. That means we can move faster I think, and get more done.”

Roberts says he’ll “review” all of Bobb’s plans for the district, including a plan to convert to 50 district schools into charters.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.