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Lawsuit: Detroit City Council Is Meeting Illegally

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A Detroit City Council meeting in April, 2013. (credit: Pat Sweeting/WWJ)

A Detroit City Council meeting in April, 2013. (credit: Pat Sweeting/WWJ)

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DETROIT (WWJ) – The Detroit City Council is breaking the law by meeting. That’s the claim by community activist Robert Davis, who has filed a lawsuit over the enactment of the emergency manager law in Detroit.

Davis says Council has not received written permission by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr that would allow them to meet.

“One, Mr. Orr only speaks through his written orders. There is not one written order from Mr. Orr expressly authorizing the city council to act in any authority or any capacity,” Davis said.

“Can you point to any written order, from Mr. Orr, outlining the duties and responsibilities of the city council? There is none,” he said.

Davis said, as ordered on the law, Orr takes the place of council.

“So, without him exercising that authority, it’s ironic that he’s not seeking to do so — considering  that he has authorized them to be paid,” Davis said. “The interesting question here is the fact that  he has to justify them being paid.”

Meantime, Orr’s spokesman said council can continue to meet and vote — but any action they want to take must be approved by the emergency manager.

Orr, a bankruptcy expert appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder, begin work last month sorting out the struggling city’s finances.

Under Michigan law, emergency managers have the power to develop financial plans, renegotiate labor contracts, revise and approve budgets to help control spending, sell off some city assets and suspend elected officials’ salaries.

MORE: Bankruptcy Expert Named Detroit Emergency Manager

Opponents Label Detroit Emergency Manager An ‘Uncle Tom’

Detroit Financial Manager: I’m Used To Being Hated

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