Detroit's new emergency manager says he's offering an "olive branch" to City Council members on his first day on the job.
Bankruptcy attorney and turnaround specialist Kevyn Orr told reporters Monday at City Hall that he plans to meet with some council members. He says there's a chance to work together to improve the city.
After Orr spoke, about 150 people protested his appointment outside City Hall.
Gov. Rick Snyder appointed Orr to take over the finances of the largest city in the country to come under state oversight.
Orr met Monday morning with Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and then with the news media. Orr said he begins his work with an offer to work together with members of the Detroit City Council.
"I want to offer a sincere olive branch with an opportunity for us to work together. As I've said before and continue say, there is a role for city council. they are elected officials, I am not. I am an appointed official. They certainly have their ear to the rail and the pulse of the community. That's why they are elected and I envision them participating in this process," Orr said.
Several city council members met individually with Orr. Council member James Tate said he is not worried for now about losing his pay. He came away from the meeting cautiously optimistic.
"We always have to look at the actions, to see if the words match, but if they do I think we are going to be very successful in this city because you have, in my opinion a group of council members who are looking to work with whoever is here to assist the city of Detroit," Tate said.
Orr also plans to look at the city's financial data to help develop his plan of action in tackling Detroit's fiscal crisis. The city has a $327 million budget deficit and more than $14 billion in debt.
Mayor Bing said those are issues that are in the front burner for the emergency manager.
"We've been talking about that for a long time now and as he comes to he table and attacks those particular issues, anything that we can do to be an asset to him we are going to do," Bing said.
Some, including a group led by prominent Detroit pastors, have said they will protest Orr's appointment and Michigan's emergency manager law.
Rev. Charles Williams of the National Action Network said community leaders and activists will fight in the name of democracy.
"Everything that we do will be in the Martin Luther King Jr. tradition. It will be nonviolent," he said.
Others say they'll keep up the fight as long as they need to.
"How I am going to remember this day it depends on how successful we are at the end of the day with them getting the message," said Detroit resident Loretta Yancy.
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