City leaders discuss Orr's future
Detroit — City leaders were meeting behind closed doors Tuesday afternoon to hammer out a potential deal for Kevyn Orr's continued role in Detroit after his term as emergency manager expires.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, corporation counsel Melvin "Butch" Hollowell and members of the Detroit City Council are among those in the closed session that started at 2 p.m. Tuesday. U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen, lead mediator of the city's Chapter 9 bankruptcy case, also was in attendance.
Duggan declined to comment as the parties headed into the meeting. The session was closed to discuss "privileged and confidential communications and legal memoranda" related to Orr's transition out of Detroit, according to the council agenda.
"I have been invited to a closed session. That's all I know," Duggan told reporters before walking into the council's chambers on the 13th floor of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center.
Late Monday, Council President Pro Tem George Cushingberry Jr. said all sides are "close to an agreement" that will keep Orr in place until the bankruptcy case concludes in federal court. Then, control would be transferred back to Detroit's elected officials.
Under Public Act 436, the state's emergency manager law, Orr could be removed as early as Saturday.
Councilman Andre Spivey said a resolution on the issue could be reached later this week.
"I personally don't think you can just get rid of (Orr), seeing he's an integral part of proceedings so we're probably going to look at extending his time some sort of way to mid-October and when he's done, then he's gone," Spivey said. "We're deciding what we will do. We're going into a closed session and we'll see what comes out of that. Hopefully we can vote this week and get it over and done with."
Councilman Scott Benson called the session "a strategy to move forward" and the city's "safe and clean transition from the emergency manager to self-control (and) self-governance."
"The law states certain ways to remove the emergency manager and we, as a city, have to make sure we're covering all the bases and are not overlooking anything," said Benson, who added he'd like to see Orr removed.
State officials said Monday they would not disclose details on what's being discussed. Sara Wurfel, a spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Snyder, said the goal is to "ensure the city can exit bankruptcy as smoothly and quickly as possible as that's in the best interests of both Detroiters and Michiganders."