Tom Crawford

Tom Crawford
City of Ann Arbor, CFO
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tottered on: 21 July 2006
Temperature: 74 F
Ceiling: mostly sunny
Ground: long grass
Wind: ESE at 6 mph

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TT with HD: Tom Crawford

TC: I'm heavier than you are.

HD: Yes, but you know, the beauty of the teeter totter is that you can use the Law of the Lever. You said [before mounting] that you liked physics. Do you actually know the Law of the Lever?

TC: I understand the Law of the Lever.

HD: But you can't quote the formula?

TC: No.

HD: You know, Henry Herskovitz, when he was here, I asked him the same question and he was right there with the formula.

TC: Was he? That's impressive. I sometimes attend those Saturday morning physics discussions over at the University.

HD: Yeah, they have a series, right?

TC: Yeah. They're enjoyable.

HD: You're also a lot taller than I am.

TC: That may be have been why I selected this end.

HD: Oh, yeah, because it was the up end, right. You've been working for the City of Ann Arbor for two years now, which means that this is your third Art Fair cycle, right?

TC: Right.

HD: So have you been through the Art Fair this year?

TC: I went last night actually. I'm going to go again today.

HD: Well, I pitched this to you as an opportunity to practice some presentations that you mentioned you were working on at one of the public information meetings for the parks millages. Someone of the speakers had complimented the quality of the materials that Jayne Miller was presenting, and that citizen requested that the same be done for the whole budget. And you were there and said, Well, I'm working on that! Since that's the way I pitched this to you, I wanted to give you a chance to actually take a dry through this stuff you're working on.

TC: Well, we can do a dry run. That particular gentleman--I don't recall his name now--but I followed up with some emails with him and shared with him where we have on the website some similar information to what he saw for the parks for our budget, and some of our other financial documents. But the detail that particular presentation [for the parks] had is greater than what we have for the other documents. Just because of the size of the organization, we don't really have the staff to do that kind of comprehensive review every year. We've got enough staff to do chunks and pieces here and there.

HD: And that got prioritized, because the millage is coming up.

TC: Right. One of the things about that presentation, which I also enjoyed, just like the speaker did, is it included what I call performance metrics. Jayne [Miller] had a national standard, what we are providing, and what we could provide. That philosophy, I think, is more of a private-sector philosophy, but it's really come into the government sector in the last three or four years in a big way. Every conference you go to, all the publications in the government sector are talking about that stuff. We are making a very meaningful rollout of that within the City. It takes, to be honest, between three to five years, I think, to really roll it out in a quality fashion. But that's one of the things that we're really excited about, because it's going to help us have those kinds of conversations much more clearly with the public about how their resources are being used.

HD: So this development of performance metrics across City operations is one of the bullet points under this Phase II that we're in right now, 2005 to 2007. Now, this overall City Plan or Strategy, is this something you developed and conceptualized when you came on board, or is this something where the general idea existed and you're now charged with shepherding it through?

TC: Well, the general ideas were already being worked on. And part of my responsibility to the City is to help articulate to the citizens what we're doing, particularly financially. So Roger's [Fraser] staff, we really put that together as a group. That's part of what we call the strategy of Sustaining our Future. And you're going to hear us use that term more, because the City management strongly believes that we're at a very important point in the city's life right now. It's a very exciting point, actually. There's a lot going on, and if we focus on the actions that are needed to sustain our future, we're excited about that.

HD: So what is it that makes it so exciting? My understanding is that it's perhaps a watershed moment, because we've reached our Headlee cap. But is that the thing that makes it a pivotal point? I mean, what makes it exciting as opposed to, say, frightening?

TC: I think you're speaking in terms of financials, and I can speak to that. But I also make that comment in the greater sense of the community. We're probably having, I would think, historic quality relationships with the University and the County. We have economic development, which looks like it has not been something focussed on here much in the past, which is exciting, especially to a finance person like myself. To see the Greenway discussions and the Calthorpe studies, there's so much discussion about what we want the city to be in the future. I've actually lived in the city for 10 years ...

HD: ... oh, really!

TC: Yeah, and I didn't hear a lot of discussions about that kind of stuff when I first moved here. It was really, Oh this hasn't gone right! and We don't want to do this! Now we're talking about things we do want to do and that's what I find exciting.

HD: Are you fearful at all that this good news that Google is going to locate here might make people a bit lazy or complacent about doing the other things we need to do anyway in terms of economic development?

TC: I'm not worried about that at all. In fact, I think the reverse will happen. One of the key things in economic development is getting a certain level of critical mass. SPARK, along with the interest of the City and downtown groups, a lot of constituencies in the area are really coming together at a great time, with the state economy being down. I really see Google as just an opportunity to add to that critical mass. I think it's just going to be the beginning.

HD: So has SPARK actually formally fused with the Washtenaw Development Council?

TC: My understanding is that they were officially one entity on July 1st, but I think they've been operating that way for some months. It's a very impressive group. I've had an opportunity to work with Mike Finney and some of his staff. That's another exciting part of the community. We have a real talent in the leadership in this community in a lot of different organizations. And that's one of them, in my opinion.

HD: I'd be curious to know, what does your typical day look like? If I had to guess, I would say, Tom spends his day staring at Excel spreadsheets all day long and creating new and interesting formulas to run on different cells of Excel spreadsheets. But do you guys even run Microsoft Excel?

TC: Oh, absolutely.

HD: Is that where the City budget lives in its native format?

TC: No, this organization is too large and complex for that kind of budgeting. We have a special application that municipal governments use for budgeting. The processes that we use and the structure of how you budget is different than you do in the private sector and so that's what we use, a specialized application. I actually don't spend a lot of time in Excel. I have a few people that work for me that do a lot of the Excel work. I spend a lot of my time in meetings, dealing with people, planning, trying to solve problems, knock down walls, that sort of thing. I'm there to support my organization in being as effective as it can be. I'm in charge of financial and administrative services, so I'm largely a support function of the City. My job itself would be to help the operating side be as effective and as efficient as possible. I spend a great deal of my time working on those kind of issues.

HD: Before we got on the teeter totter you said you felt like a lot of the huge gains in efficiency had been accomplished already back in the early 2000's. So what sorts of efficiencies are we talking about that we might be able to achieve in the future then? If not the 2 and 3 million dollar kind, are we perhaps looking at ways to get higher levels of service with no additional expenditure. So we're not necessarily saving dollars, but we're just getting way more service than we used get for the same dollars?

TC: That's part of it. The other part of it is, the nature of the difference between investing and spending seems to be not well-addressed in the finances of the City. There's been a lot of spending, but there's a lot of investing that's not been done. Investing in infrastructure was not really at a level that it should have been, and we have been and we're going to suffer the consequences of that for some time. Our investment in technology for the City needs improvement, and we've rectified that and we're trying optimize it now.

HD: So are you making reference specifically to software technology?

TC: And hardware. And the facilities also. I'll give you an example: City Hall, the police, the courts. It's a real shame that we have the facilities we have. They do, in my opinion, hamper the effectiveness of the organization. And particularly the police are in a facility where it's just downright embarrassing.

HD: I remember Dan Oates [former Chief of Police] complained, somewhat bitterly I think, about the fact that he was lured here with the promise that something would be done about facilities and that nothing got done in the time he was here about the condition of the police quarters.

TC: You know, I was in the private sector before I came to the City, so I still have somewhat of an outsider's view. I think, Well, the police are out in their cars all the time, how much do they really need? But once you see the really embarrassing situation they're in, it takes on a new meaning. They literally have pots to catch the water, they have locker rooms for the women that are literally in closets. It really is embarrassing and inappropriate.

HD: So you said you'd lived here in Ann Arbor for 10 years?! For some reason I had the impression that you were just an interloper, that you were just a guy who was really good with numbers and you swooped in and said, Okay, guys we're gonna do a two-year budget! So I guess you like Ann Arbor well enough to want to stay here for a little while longer anyway?

TC: I love Ann Arbor. It's a great place to live and I thoroughly enjoy it. I'm from North Carolina, and I bleed Carolina blue. I went to Chapel Hill undergraduate school. So when I chose to leave my last employment, I was thinking, if I could go anywhere in the country, where I'd want to live, and this was obviously one that was on the table. I have a lot of family down in North Carolina, but I really love Ann Arbor, it's a great city.

HD: So if you grew up in North Carolina, then probably the thing that we're sitting on right now, you did not call a 'teeter totter'?

TC: No. I don't remember using these for a long time.

HD: So you didn't have these growing up?!

TC: Well, my dad was actually in the Navy, so I lived a lot of different places. And I'm sure we had these, but it's been a long time since I've been on one.

HD: I had a woman on, from I think maybe it was South Carolina, who said that they never called them 'teeter totters', they were always 'see-saws'. And I thought that might just be a regional linguistic difference. I heard both growing up, I guess. I'm from Indiana, the middle-finger-of-the-South. Well, one thing I did want to ask you about was this Lower Town, Broadway Village possible bond issue. You know, if you look at a publicly owned company that has stock, people talk about price-to-earnings ratio as being kind of metric that you can use to do a rule-of-thumb evaluation. What is the corresponding rule-of-thumb number that you look at for this bond issue? Is it, in fact, just the additional tax revenues off the increment? Just put that number against the amount of money it will take to pay off the bond? Is it that simple? Or how much more complex does it get?

TC: I'm not sure that there is a comparable metric here, because it's not the private sector. It's a very complex project in that it's state funding, brownfield funding, and that funding comes for certain purposes, cleaning up the soil, for example. You don't necessarily expect a return to clean up the soil--a developer just expects to develop and earn money--the high cost of cleaning up the soil can make a parcel un-viable. If I were to think of a metric, what I would love to be able to measure is the economic contribution that this project could make to that area. When I think of the city's economic areas--a lot of people just think of downtown--I think of six or seven different areas. And I'm hoping to focus on each of those areas in the future. Just outside [DDA] downtown, in Lower Town, that has an opportunity to be a wonderful area in the future. The University owns some land down there. There are beautiful old buildings there on the left as you drive over the bridge ...

HD: ... Northside Grill, whatever the name of that building is.

TC: Yeah, I love that place. This project, to me, if it can succeed appropriately with its economics, then it has a real potential to make a contribution to that area. I walked over there a year ago through the parking lot when some of those other building were still there. Just walking through for fifteen minutes, I had a person come up and say, You know, we're really excited about having some new stores and restaurants here. And I get the sense that in that community, there are some who don't want it but there are some who do, just like on any issue. I can tell you from the City's perspective on the bonding, there's a lot of, I believe, misinformation that was out through the press, I'm guessing through some special interest groups. But the bottom line is: I will not come to Council and recommend the issuance of the bonds, unless I believe it is in the taxpayers' best interest. I'm a resident, you know, so I'm spending my own money. And I will be certain to not bring it forward, until I'm comfortable with it from a professional standpoint.

HD: So is one of the possibilities that the City will just not issue 40 million dollars worth of bonds, that it might be 30 million instead?

TC: Oh, absolutely. We could issue none. We could issue 25, 30.

HD: But what I think I'm hearing, though, is that it's not as simple as the additional property tax revenues off that increased increment. Even if they fall short of the number that's projected to be required to pay off the bonds, it's still possible to make a case for issuing the bonds?

TC: There's hard benefits and there's soft benefits. And the hard benefit, the TIF or the cash that comes off of improving the property, needs to pay for the bonds. That is a level that is certainly appropriate and it needs to have some flexibility in there in case our estimates are not correct. Would I want additional securities behind that? Yes, absolutely. Certainly the revenues from that project need to pay that off. Because we are the taxing authority, we are basically going to get a benefit out of this to the extent that the future growth and taxes on that parcel can help make that parcel, which is really underutilized now, be something in the future, and hopefully contribute to the areas around it. It could be a win-win for everybody. The world does not exist without risks. And we're not in the business to eliminate risks, finance people aren't. We're in the business to manage risks. And managing this risk is what we want to do with this project. We want to make it as reasonably safe for the City as we can, but if we can find a way to improve that area, then we'd like to.

HD: I rode my bike over there the other day, because I just wanted to remind myself of what that area looked like. And also it was a mountain stage of the Tour de France and so I wanted go up Broadway hill sort of as my tip of the hat to the Tour de France riders. And, you know, I turned off into there, and I thought I was heading for Broadway. Maybe it's my poor sense of direction, but I found myself in this wasteland, not really able navigate over to Broadway all that easily. And I spent longer than I'm comfortable admitting, really, just trying to figure out where I was. It's not a happy place at all right now. So from my point of view, I'd just like to see something happen there. Are you following the Tour de France at all?

TC: I'm not this year. I did when Armstrong did his famous last Tour.

HD: Oh, it was an amazing day yesterday. Floyd Landis, after totally crumbling the day before, came back and just blew everyone away. He put in what people have described as the most impressive one-day ride in the Tour de France, ever. So it looks like he'll probably win in Paris. Do you bicycle at all?

TC: I bike, but I'm not a 'cyclist'. I have like this hybrid bike.

HD: Yeah? Seems like in Ann Arbor you almost have to have something you can point to, to have adequate green credentials. It's good that you say you bike, so that's one tick mark in the positive column. But you also walked over here, so I couldn't check out what kind of car you drive. You used to work at Ford, so do you still drive a Ford?

TC: I have a Ford Escape. What I do most now is walk my dog. I got a dog about a month ago from the rescue mission. He's a golden retriever that's 65 pounds, so the Escape is a good size for him. I can put the back down and he can sit there.

HD: So you say the rescue mission, this is not the Humane Society, this is some breed-specific organization?

TC: Yeah, there's a Golden Retriever Rescue Mission.

HD: So did you just decide you wanted to add a dog to your life, or did you know someone at the Mission who had a dog who needed a home and they talked you into it?

TC: I've wanted a dog for a long time and finally decided it was time to get one. I got lucky, I got a good dog. We actually walk by your house occasionally.

HD: Oh yeah?

TC: The Old West Side is a great place to walk a dog.

HD: Well, I don't know if you've noticed or not, but we've also got some signs that people have put up along our street specifically targeting dog walkers. People have made little handwritten signs that say, Please don't let your dog pee on this bush. There's one at the end of the street now. You should check it out on your way back. So apparently there's a problem. So what's this dog's history?

TC: I can't tell that he was abused, I just don't think he got a lot of attention. He's a very active four-year-old. He was from a family that had two small children and another dog, and I think they just didn't have time to exercise him. He's been a very well-behaved pet since I've had him, and they do well when you walk them. He's a great walker, he walks right next to me. And he doesn't use the bathroom at all. He likes to use the bathroom when he's off-leash, and he's only off-leash when he's in my backyard.

HD: What's the dog's name?

TC: Casey.

HD: Casey with a K-C, like the Sunshine Band?

TC: It's funny you mention that. I was assuming it was a C-A-S-E-Y, but I've never known anybody named Casey. The first weekend after I got him, I was taking the fuel-cell car that the City has ...

HD: ... we have a fuel-cell car?!

TC: Yeah. We work with Ford, it's a combination of Ford, the City, and the Department of Energy. It's a Ford Focus and it runs on hydrogen only. And it is amazing. It is phenomenal. It actually performs better, I think, than a normal Focus.

HD: You mean it's got better acceleration?

TC: Better acceleration, better handling. It's amazing. I'm one of the drivers for the vehicle. But I was taking that vehicle as a demonstration to the Eco-Ride ...

HD: ... that's the cycling tour.

TC: Right. And it was the first weekend after I got Casey. I got there, sat down, and wouldn't you know it, a little hot-dog dog ...

HD: ... yeah, what do you call those ...

TC: ... dachshund walked up and his name was Casey. And then a young girl came by and wanted to pet him and her name was Casey. I was thinking I may need to maybe call him the initials K-C or something like that. I didn't realize it was such a gender-neutral name.

HD: Hmmm. Yeah, when people say Casey, the first thing I think of is the bar down there on Depot Street.

TC: Yeah, well, that's kind of what I was thinking of, too.

HD: So no bad habits for this dog that you can discern? Haven't had to discipline him at all?

TC: Nothing serious.

HD: So anything else on your mind at all?

TC: Let me just mention this. As I talk with citizens, one of the things that I find is interesting and different from most people's experience is that the City's finances are driven by 'buckets'. And those buckets have limited uses, we call them 'funds'. For example, the park millage that will be on the ballot this year in November, the proceeds from that millage will only go into a certain fund and can only be used for certain purposes. I often get questions or comments saying, Gee, it looks like the City has a lot of money, has a lot of reserves! And we're in reasonable shape. What we're really struggling with is: how we operate going forward. And the fact is that we don't really have enough reserves to make some replacements like we'd like to, like the City Hall, a police force facility, that kind of thing.

HD: At the public information meeting for the parks, you mentioned that you felt that for the size of our budget, that really we ought to be operating in the black each year by--I forget the exact number ...

TC: ... 1 to 2 million.

HD: Okay, 1 to 2 million dollars. Is that a percentage-based number or more like along the lines of like a homeowner, you're supposed to have the equivalent of three-months mortgage payment in the bank as a safety precaution? What kind of rule-of-thumb results in a number like 1 to 2 million dollars?

TC: Given the size of the budget and the risks that we face, I was throwing that out there as a dollar amount, not a percentage. And the reason for that is, if something negative happens. We have risks out there. In the last year, we had three major things come up. We had the [old] YMCA, where we had to condemn it because the water pipes broke in the heating system. That was a million dollars. We had the failure of the millage for Ash tree removal, which we were not anticipating. That had a multi-million dollar impact. And we had a settlement with our labor union for over a million dollars. Those are things that we had not planned on. And while I say we have 13% in reserves, which is a reasonable level--our rating agencies agree with that--if we have hiccups like that, we don't have anyplace to go. And what we're looking at going forward, and what the City has struggled with in the past, is not adequately reserving for its problems. The City is facing major liabilities like the funding of its retiree health care, the reserving for municipal facilities, things like that ...

HD: ... so when you say reserving for x, y, z, are we literally talking about putting money in a savings account somewhere? I mean the City of Ann Arbor has a bank account with somebody, right? Who do we bank with?

TC: Chase, BankOne.

HD: So is that what we're talking about, just maintaining a balance in a bank account at BankOne?

TC: To some extent, yes. Right now, we have 7 million dollars set in a fund called Municipal Facility Fund. That is the money that we have available to deal with the police force facility. And that's all we have available.

HD: And the DDA has some money also, set aside, right? But they would have to be on board with whatever concept. Seems like recently, actually, I've heard the term 'hall of justice' bandied about a lot more than 'city hall'.

TC: Yes, and the reason that is, quite frankly, we don't have the money to do the whole thing. Without an increase in taxes, we couldn't even afford to do a larger facility. And we don't want to increase taxes if we possibly can help it. So what we're looking at is just the possibility of a police-courts facility, because those are the two that are in the most dire need of a facility. We need to do it within our existing resources, so that we don't have to ask taxpayers for more. If we don't somehow have some extra money along the way that we can throw at this retiree healthcare liability, that we can reserve for ongoing needs to construct replacements or actually renovate things, if we're going to stay there, then we continue with this kind of financial crisis. Right now, the City is in a pretty good spot. In the next six months, I believe the City's financial future for the next three to four years is going to be determined. And I say that because we have some millages on the ballot ...

HD: ... parks millages ...

TC: ... the parks and street repair millages. We also have our labor negations going on. We have all our labor contracts open. There is a piece of legislation coming up that is what some people in the financial community are calling Sink Our State legislation. That just came up in the last few weeks.

HD: This is the first I've heard of it.

TC: It's called SOS. The official name is Stop Over-Spending. What it does is in addition to Headlee, which has these restrictions reducing millages, the SOS provisions require most everything to go to the voters. All levels of government would literally have to go to the voters for any fee increase, any rate increase, any bonding.

HD: So if we want to charge more to rent a canoe at Gallup Park, we've got to have a voter referendum to bump it from whatever it is now, like 10 bucks an hour, to 11 bucks?

TC: That's my understanding of it at this point, yeah.

HD: So this is proposed legislation in which chamber now?

TC: It's a constitutional amendment that will be on the ballot. It's already got enough signatures to get on the ballot for this November.

HD: For the State.

TC: Yes.

HD: Holy Cow.

TC: Yeah, it came out of nowhere. Apparently in California, they had some kind of similar legislation and taxpayers actually get books of what the proposed changes are. I'm very supportive of the democratic process. The unfortunate thing is, if you don't have people who are really get into and know the operations--and you sound like you stay up on City affairs--it's very difficult to get something to pass on a general vote, because ... ,

HD: ... well yeah, because people say, Tax increase?! Um, no. Well, I think that was part of what killed the Ash-Borer Millage. People said, I bet you can find a way to pay for it. Now some people are saying, See?! You did find a way to pay for it, there you go. They didn't really need that Ash-borer Millage after all. And I wonder if part of it actually has to do with what people perceive the general fund to express as far as our community values. In fact, I think someone alluded to this at that parks millage information meeting, that parks should be funded out of the general fund, because it expresses our support for and dedication to parks more strongly than having them paid for out of some extra, add-on millage. That, somehow, it's more appropriate, as an expression of how much we value parks, to pay for them out of the general fund. And I guess I understand that, but it also seems to me that if you fund it through a millage, it really does tie government's hands maybe in exactly the right way. If you vote up the millage, you can't spend the money out of that bucket, as you put it, on anything but parks. So maybe people are afraid Council will turn around and say that we don't need to spend as much out of the general fund on parks now! Okay, maybe. So vote your city councilmember out. It seems to me that if you want to vote for something that has to be spent on parks, then you're going to vote the millage up. Or you would have voted the Ash-Borer Millage up. It's weird to me to worry about the values statement that it makes. I mean, you've heard this kind of reasoning, right?

TC: I have heard that, yes. And I understand both sides of that. Like the Ash Millage that you were talking about, the bottom line is that the City organization and government is here to serve its citizens. To the extent that we believe we have a potential safety issue, we are going to find a way to fund it! Now the citizens may not like what happens as a result of that. We're delaying renovating some of the parks that have things like teeter totters. We were going to put a safer padding material underneath it, and now we're stretching it out over numerous years. And I don't know about your street, but mine, there's probably ten trees in a row down the street, there's bark falling off and past dead. I'm just waiting for some of them to fall down in a storm. I thought some of them were going to go Monday, but they didn't.

HD: Yeah, actually we had a tree, not an Ash I don't think, fall down at the bottom of the street. When you walk back, you'll see where it was, it's on the opposite side of the street. And I think it was a matter of the City not having the resources to get out and deal with it before actually fell down. I talked to the guy who lives there and he said he called and they told him they had Ash trees they had to deal with. There's nothing like a big tree actually falling down to get a City truck out there. He said it was within a half an hour. I mean I certainly never saw the tree lying there. In fact, I assumed that the City had come and cut it down. So from the time it fell down to the time it disappeared was really short, because I never saw on the ground.

TC: Well, we have people mobilized to take out the trees so it can be a very fast response time. But your comment about that, it happens over and over again in the City. The more we get starved for resources, the more we're going to be a reactionary government. And that not only applies to Ash trees, it also applies to water main breaks, sewer main breaks, that sort of thing. We want to be proactive. We want to be able to identify the problems and deal with them to prevent them from creating a situation where we have to just react. A reactionary organization will, in the long term, be more expensive than a proactive one. But it's difficult to get over that hump to be proactive and we're doing a lot of things to try to get there.

HD: So is there any one thing you'd like to point to? I mean we don't have to stop at any particular time. I've got all day, literally. I've got a certain amount of callous built up, but not everybody teeter totters as much as I do.

TC: I'm kind of numb at this point, so it's okay! You know, there's just so much going on in the City that it would be kind of unfair for me to point out one thing in particular. I'm really enjoying working for the City. I think the challenges are very important. I feel like the city is at a special point in its life. The announcement that Google is coming to this region is just an outward example of that. There's a lot of stuff that I think citizens don't see behind the scenes. There are an awful lot of talented people, not just government officials, but also in the private sector, who are actively engaged and spend a great deal of time working on things and it's showing up ...

HD: ... so did you actually have a chance to meet personally with anyone from Google as a part of these ...

TC: ... yeah, Roger [Fraser] and I met with them when the announcement was made about potential locations here in the city.

HD: So if you had to guess, would you guess they would pursue a suburban or an urban strategy?

TC: This is such a fun downtown, I really think they would like to be downtown.

HD: I know that's what they said, but I just wonder if they're saying that because they've done their homework, and they know that that's exactly what we'd like to hear at least in Ann Arbor, but eventually they're going to say, You know we tried to make it work downtown, but gosh, you know, what we really are going to have to go with is that isolated campus in that field off of South State Street.

TC: Well, some of their other facilities are quite large and I think we would consider them more suburban type facilities, large parking lots that kind of thing. I genuinely think they want to be downtown. If I were coming here and I were Google, I'd want to be downtown. Going to be interesting to see.

HD: So you have some experience working for a really large company, Ford, so that opinion, I might assign more weight to than just some guy's opinion.

TC: Well, I'm certainly used to working for a company that has a lot of resources. Ford had a great deal of resources and when you go into a room when you want something, you expect it to happen. Google is a very unusual company. They're very different. And they wield their influence differently. And that's exciting, because Ann Arbor's also different.

HD: The people that you met with from Google, was there anything obvious about those meetings that would allow you to conclude that they're a 'different' company?

TC: You know I've only had one meeting with them. Most of what I know about Google is just like everybody else, what I get from the press.

HD: So they didn't take off their shoes and socks during the meeting or anything?

TC: No.

HD: Okay, well then I would like to thank you for coming to ride the teeter totter.

TC: Okay, thanks for the opportunity.