Detroit regains power but Kevyn Orr remains

Detroit City Council, mayor reclaim local control from EM Kevyn Orr

DETROIT – As Detroit's historic Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing comes to a close, Emergency Manger Kevyn Orr is giving the checkbook back to the city leadership.

Orr's 18 months in office are up, and after negotiations with the city leadership the solution is to keep Orr on the job to handle the bankruptcy, but the day-to-day operations and decisions will now be in the politicians' hands.

Orr signed off on the deal late Thursday afternoon.

"This is a really good day for the city. We've got some momentum going forward starting with the pension vote." Orr said. "The vote up in Lansing on the state settlement and moving forward on the transition with the mayor and City Council."

Orr said the city is ready but the legal wrangling isn't over yet. The federal bankruptcy judge still has to sign off on the city's plan of adjustment. Once that is signed, sealed and delivered Orr will be on his way home.

There had been initial political chest thumping suggesting Detroit's politicians would kick Orr to the curb as soon as possible. When the bankruptcy judge overseeing the case voiced his displeasure and the governor made it clear Orr wasn't going anywhere until the court proceedings were over, this is the deal that was reached.

"I have said to you for the last month that when it came down to crunch time this would be done smoothly and without drama," Mayor Mike Duggan said.

Most council members see the opportunity for continued change in the post-bankruptcy era. They feel the pressure to keep the momentum going.

"For many, many years financial decisions in this city were made based on hope." City Councilwoman Saunteel Jenkins said. "The hope for a stronger population, the hope for attracting more business. We can't budget based on hope."

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