Detroit City Council ponders future with emergency financial manager

Detroit City Council members wonder if they will be paid after emergency financial manager takes office


DETROIT – Members of the Detroit City Council hope they have a role to play when the state-appointed Emergency Financial Manager Kevyn Orr starts work next Monday.

Six of the nine council members were present Tuesday for the group's first meeting since Orr was introduced as the EFM last week. Under state law, the emergency manager can cut City Council salaries immediately.

Council President Pro-Tem Gary Brown said he does not think that will happen.

"I don't know why he would not because we come to work every day and we work every day and people who work get paid a salary, so I expect there would be a salary," Brown said.

Council President Charles Pugh agreed. He said the city is too big and its problems too big for one person to make all the decisions. Pugh said Orr can focus on bonds, pensions and health care retiree debt, but council can handle other issues.

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"Labor negotiations and labor restructuring. He's not going to have time for daily operations or those decisions or to be briefed on those decisions, and even attempt to make those decisions, so I think he can leave that to us," Pugh said.

Governor Rick Snyder,  who appointed Kevyn Orr to the post, has said Orr will be busy going through the city of Detroit's financial records and that work may be necessary if Orr has to resort to a bankruptcy filing.

Several city council members have voiced wishes for meeting with Kevyn Orr.

No meetings are as yet scheduled, but they may take place before or immediately after Orr begins his work next week.