DETROIT (WWJ) – Bankruptcy attorney Kevyn Orr is ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work. He arrived at Detroit City Hall bright and early Monday, settling into his job as Detroit’s emergency financial manager.
“The mayor has graciously agreed to lend me some office space here in the building — on the eleventh floor — and I got in at about 7 o’clock or so, which is typically early for me,” Orr said, in a news conference at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center.
Orr was asked about a commitment from business leaders, announced Monday morning, to donate $8 million for new police and EMS vehicles.
“I can’t tell you how encouraging it is and just how optimistic that these city fathers — fathers and mothers, excuse me — would come together on that initiative,” Orr said.”We’ll pursue those as well for other services.”
Wasting no time getting down to business, Orr met with Mayor Dave Bing in the morning and had meetings with city council members lined up throughout the day.
Orr told reporters he’ll make a decision this week on whether he’ll cut the pay of elected officials.
Whatever he does — he’s expected to do it quickly.
“Mr. Orr himself says he thinks he can get this done in 18 months,” said WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick. “There are many in this town — who, by the way, are on spring break starting today — who said, wow, that’s an impossible job, but we’ll watch to see what he does.”
As he met with Detroit leaders inside, about 100 protesters gathered outside Orr’s office in the afternoon.
Among them was the Reverend Edwin Rowe who said you can’t solve the city’s problems by trying to sell the city.
He said this promises to be an ongoing battle.
“This is a protracted struggle. This isn’t gonna happen and it isn’t gonna happen next week,” Rowe said. “This is not over until we have won back the right to vote and we have run back the right now to … have our homes stolen and our city stolen.”
Talking to WWJ’s Vickie Thomas, Orr said he has no problem meeting with protesters — but his meeting with city leaders take priority.
Detroit has a $327 million budget deficit and more than $14 billion in debt.