DETROIT — Mayor Dave Bing said Friday he is at least 80 percent recovered from surgery to repair a perforated intestine and plans to return to city hall on April 30 as Detroit executes a plan to fix its dire finances under the eyes of state officials and a new board.
Speaking to reporters on a conference call, Bing, 68, said his biggest hurdle is the incision, which still needs time to heal. Otherwise, he insisted there are "absolutely" no other health problems.
"When I looked at the incision that was made ... I was pretty scared to see my stomach laying wide open," Bing said. "The doctors seem to be pretty happy with where I am."
Bing had surgery in late March and returned to the hospital on April 4 because of blood clots in his lungs. His health woes coincided with Detroit and the state of Michigan's effort to negotiate a deal to fix Detroit's finances and prevent the appointment of an emergency manager, which would have rendered Bing and city council powerless.
"It was either sign the agreement or bring in an emergency manager," Bing said of the negotiations with Gov. Rick Snyder's administration. "I had no choice but to sign the agreement. ... In a perfect situation, there's no doubt I would rather be in a different position but I am where I am.
"I don't have any animosity toward anybody. It's about looking forward, not looking back," Bing said.
The mayor said he's "totally engrossed" in vetting candidates for the new positions of chief financial officer, program manager and a nine-member advisory board. The agreement also requires new labor contracts — negotiated or imposed — by July 16.
Separately, Deputy Mayor Kirk Lewis said some unions have declined to start talks with the city, although cutting the size of Detroit's payroll "absolutely" must happen.
"They're basically good people," Bing said of the unions. "I want them as part of the process to help bring the city back."
Bing said he'll return to his office on April 30, but he won't be ready for 14-hour days.
"I want to be smart because I don't think anything is more important than my health," Bing said.