Robert C. Bobb Biography

Robert C. Bobb

Robert C. Bobb has served as Emergency Manager of the 87,000-student Detroit Public Schools since March 2, 2009. A one-year appointment by Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm was extended through March 1, 2011 in October 2009.

Mr. Bobb assembled a team of national turnaround experts to address the district’s legacy deficit which was projected to peak at $305.8 million by June 2009, and to create for the school district a Master Education Plan for 21st Century Teaching and Learning; plans for Safe and Secure Learning Environments; Facilities; and Parent and Community Involvement; as well as a Master Long-term Financial Plan. Immediate establishment of an Office of the Inspector General (OIG) began a path to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse, and creation of an internal Office of Internal Audit assured that internal controls are in place. The OIG efforts resulted in 218 cases opened from 281 tips received, referral of 15 cases to federal and state prosecutors, four criminal prosecutions, 19 disciplinary hearings, termination of 9 employees, and identification of 17 computer theft suspects. Detroit Public Schools also addressed 89 percent of the previous problematic audit findings. Academic restructuring resulted in new assignments for 37 of the district's principals, nonrenewal of contracts for 44 others, and restructuring of 40 Detroit Public Schools including 22 of the district’s high schools. Nineteen of 42 high schools opened in Fall 2009 with new principals.

At DPS, Mr. Bobb’s efforts have resulted in successful passage, by a 61-39 percent margin, of a $500.5 million bond issue for use of Federal stimulus funds to build and/or modernize 18 schools, an enrollment drive that exceeded budgeted projections by some 900 students, creation of Emergency Student Achievement Summer School Academies serving 34,000 children and retaining $30.5 million in Federal Title funds, restoring the Detroit Public Schools Foundation, and ratification of a new reform contract with the teachers union. Recently a pledge to have all Detroit children reading at grade level in third grade by 2015 resulted in the launch of the DPS Reading Corps, which has since attracted more than 4,750 volunteers from more than 130 jurisdictions who have pledged 545,000+ hours of service to district pre-kindergarten students in one year.

Mr. Bobb holds more than 30 years executive management experience in both the private and public sectors. He is the owner, President and CEO of the LAPA Group, LLC, a multi-faceted private/public sector consulting firm. He was elected city-wide as the President of the Washington, DC Board of Education in November 2006. Mr. Bobb is the former City Administrator and Deputy Mayor for Washington, D.C. and served as the District of Columbia’s Homeland Security Advisor. He managed a workforce of approximately 20,000 employees and an annual budget of $8 billion dollars. He served as the City Manager of Oakland, California and Executive Director of the Oakland Redevelopment Agency, City Manager of Richmond, Virginia, City Manager of Santa Ana, California, and City Manager of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Mr. Bobb holds the distinction of having served on a continuous basis as the longest tenured African-American City Manager/City Administrator in the nation. He is an expert on the issues facing urban government in the realms of education, economic development, community and neighborhood development, municipal budgeting and finances, contract negotiations, public/private partnerships of sports franchises, libraries and recreation facilities, and social problems such as crime and grime.

In his first year in Detroit, Mr. Bobb was named the Champion for Children by the Michigan Association of School Administrators, a statewide association which represents the superintendents and first-line administrators of Michigan’s local and intermediate school districts. He was recognized as the Michigan Newsmaker of the Year by WXYZ-TV, and along with Mayor Dave Bing as Newsmakers of the Year by Crain’s Detroit Business. Mr. Bobb served as the January 2010 Commencement Speaker at Walsh College which bestowed upon him the Honorary Doctor of Laws degree. The Detroit Turnaround story has been covered nationally by Time magazine, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, the Associated Press, and Education Week.

His career recognitions include the prestigious International City/County Management Association’s (ICMA) L. P. Cookingham Award for Career Development and four ICMA Innovation Awards. Mr. Bobb also earned the National Forum for Black Public Administrator’s (NFBPA) Marks of Excellence Award and is a former President of the NFBPA. By proclamation, former California Governor Gray Davis declared April 11, 2001, “Robert C. Bobb Day” in that state. In September 1993, City & State Magazine, a periodical for city and state government officials, named Robert Bobb as the “Most Valuable Public Official” among professional managers of the country’s local governments.

An avid sportsman, he is also an ardent supporter and patron of the arts, and a pro-active champion for civil rights. Mr. Bobb finds time in his busy schedule to mentor urban youth and young professionals, and is a volunteer in the DPS Reading Corps. Under his direction, several successful outreach programs were designed and administered to foster urban youth in civic responsibility, educational achievement, and competitiveness in the employment market. Notably, more than 19 of Mr. Bobb’s former assistants have advanced to make their own contribution as city managers, county executives, public safety directors, head of a public utility, deputy mayor and assistant city managers.

Robert C. Bobb earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Grambling State University in Grambling, Louisiana and a Master of Science in Business from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He also completed the certificate program for Senior Executives in State and Local Governments from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he served as a member of the Executive Alumni Council.

Mr. Bobb is a Fellow of the 2005 Broad Foundation Urban Schools Superintendents Academy, Founding President of the City of Oakland, California African American Chamber of Commerce, Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, member of the ICMA, Fellow of the Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy at the College of William & Mary, and former member of the Board of Visitors of the Virginia Military Institute.


days remaining

The appointment of the Emergency Manager is for a period ending June 30, 2011.

We would like to thank those vendors who have agreed to a 25 percent reduction in outstanding invoices which has saved our schools, to date…