Bankruptcy attorney with Michigan roots named Detroit EFM

Gov. Rick Snyder says Kevyn Orr will help city out of $327 million budget deficit

Published On: Mar 14 2013 02:10:20 PM EDT   Updated On: Mar 14 2013 05:14:08 PM EDT
DETROIT -

A bankruptcy attorney with Michigan roots is expected to take the reins of Detroit's finances as an emergency manager.

Gov. Rick Snyder announced Thursday that he's recommending Kevyn Orr for the role.

Orr said he is ready and looking forward to help a city that is called many names -- Motown, Motor City -- but has one heart.

"Detroit is a great city. It is a storied city in American history. It’s the arsenal of democracy. It was a key component of freeing the world of fascism,” he said. "I feel compelled to do this job."

Orr described the task of tackling the city's troubled finances as the "Olympics of restructuring."

“When I sat with the governor, I had some questions for him. I said, ‘Governor, you know, this is sort of an unsung hero task.' The governor didn’t get a lot of votes out of Detroit. He has some people on his own side who are saying, ‘Why are you spending so much time on Detroit? Detroit made their bed, let them lie in it.’ The governor said something that stuck with me, he said: ‘Kevyn, it’s the right thing to do and it’s the right time to do it.'"

Snyder's selection of Orr went before the Local Emergency Financial Assistance Loan Board for confirmation.

Read: Kevyn Orr officially named Detroit EFM

Orr said emergency financial managers in Michigan are not new - there are nine others in the state.

"This is not uncommon -- it is of a different order of magnitude and I'm not unaware of that," he said.

Snyder declared a financial emergency in Detroit because he said local officials lacked a plan to solve the city's $327 million budget deficit and $14 billion long-term debt.

A state-appointed review team issued a report saying the city faces a cash shortfall of more than $100 million by June 30, and that long-term liabilities, including unfunded pension liabilities, exceeded $14 billion. Detroit has been borrowing to continue operations and would have fallen about nearly $1 billion short last year if it hadn't issued new debt.

Read: Financial emergency declared in Detroit, state-appointed manager possible

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has said he disagrees with the governor's conclusion but expects an emergency manager's appointment.

Read: Detroit City Council continues to fight EFM

About Detroit's new EFM Kevyn Orr

Orr, 54, is a trained bankruptcy attorney who attended the University of Michigan. He works with Jones Day, a Cleveland-based law firm that's one of the largest in the nation.

Orr worked on the team that managed Chrysler's bankruptcy, but he was not lead counsel on that case. He works at Jones Day's Washington D.C. law office.

He has government service experiencing -- he was director and deputy director of the executive office for the United States Trustees.

At the U.S. Department of Justice, Orr was assistant general counsel for complex litigation and bankruptcy section for the Resolution Trust Corporation.