Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr told The Detroit News editorial board Friday that he hopes to work in cooperation with the city’s elected leaders. (John T. Greilick / the Detroit News)
Detroit — Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr says stripping the pay of the Detroit City Council is "not one of the things on my agenda" as he begins the task of turning around the troubled city's finances.
Orr told The Detroit News editorial board Friday that he hopes to work in cooperation with the city's elected leaders. Asked if he plans immediate pay changes for City Council members, Orr suggested he is not inclined to be punitive: "I would like to think my reputation is I don't work that way."
Orr did not rule outeliminating "redundancies."
"I try to do what makes sense," he said.
Council members make $73,181 annually; the council president makes $77,000.
Public Act 436, the state's new emergency manager law that takes effect March 28, will strip fiduciary responsibilities from Mayor Dave Bing and the City Council as well as immediately end their pay and benefits, according to Michigan State University economist Eric Scorsone. The emergency manager can partially or fully restore them.
City Council members were not present when Bing, Snyder and Orr stood together Thursday at Cadillac Place in Detroit to announce Orr's appointment. Bing has pledged to cooperate with Orr and last week declined to join an unsuccessful City Council appeal of his appointment at the state Treasury building.
Just hours before Orr's introduction, council members agreed they would not seek a legal challenge of Orr's appointment and instead would focus on working to move the city forward.
"When I ran for City Council in 2009, I had a desire to help with Detroit's revitalization and that aspiration has not been diluted with the appointment of Mr. Orr," council member James Tate said in a statement Thursday. "Everyone has a role to play in the transformation of the city of Detroit in order for today's challenges to be a thing of the past. I remain steadfast in my commitment to the City of Detroit. Let's work together."
Council member Andre Spivey sounded a similar note, saying his first obligation "is to the citizens of Detroit, who had enough faith to elect me to this office."
"I am committed to serving them during this transitional period, and making sure their voice is heard and not silenced during the process," Spivey said in a statement. "It is my hope this will be a quick process and I trust all parties share this same vision.
"This is a new day in Detroit and I am willing to work together with Mr. Kevyn Orr, Mayor Dave Bing and the state of Michigan to bring fiscal solvency back to the city of Detroit."
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