DETROIT - Detroit's emergency manger has been on the job for two-and-a-half weeks now.
Kevyn Orr is busy to say the least, but on Thursday he gave his first extensive sit-down interview with Local 4's Rod Meloni.
What Kevyn Orr had to say:
Orr's approaching his new job with the zeal of a CEO. He's on the job seven days a week and sometimes 18 hours a day.
He says he found a few surprises, like things are worse than expecting financially. So, even with long term problems to worry about such as pension and retiree healthcare obligations to the tune of $6 billion, it's the small stuff killing him right now.
"We have several hundred million dollars in an operating deficit and we have payments due," he said.
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He says the political part of the job and the media scrutiny caught him off guard. He knew he'd see protests and understands he's not especially welcome.
What about when the anti-EM crowd who blocked traffic and even waved bags of Oreos outside the mayor's office?
"The issue of Oreos, I've heard that since the second or third grade. They got milk with a snack. They have a right to exercise their constitutional rights to peaceably assemble and to have free speech and I respect and observe those rights," he said.
Detroit City Council is deeply suspicious of Orr's former law firm Jones Day becoming the city's turn around counsel. Orr says he completely cashed out of Jones Day before taking the job and any concerns about conflict of interest are simply unfounded.
"There are some significant liabilities associated to me with that process, my relationship with the firm is complete and totally severed and that was intentional," he said.
Orr has promised City Council and the mayor a role in the city.
What does Orr think of the proposal, by Chuck Moore of Conway Mackenzie earlier this week, to the Financial Advisory Board to make council part time?
"I think what Chuck said and I think that the way Conway Mackenzie, a very great firm, handled themselves was entirely appropriate," he said.
Orr says he was working on the order for City Council in his office the afternoon he sat down to talk with Local 4.
He also says he's had about six dozen stakeholder meetings since he started in Detroit and he's beginning to get a handle on where things stand.
Lastly, Orr acknowledged that he has, one exceptionally difficult job to do.
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