DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says it’s not personal, but he’s not happy with the work of state-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr.
“You can’t just come in here and all of a sudden think that you can run city government. It doesn’t work like that,” the mayor told reporters Wednesday.
Bing says Orr is a bankruptcy expert, but doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing when it comes to running Detroit.
“He wanted to fix that balance sheet; we had all this debt on our balance sheet, and this precipitated his coming,” Bing said. “We had an agreement that he would come in and focus on that, and leave the running of the city — the day-to-day running of the city — to the administration.
“That has not happened,” said Bing, “and so I’m very frustrated about that. And I’ve got a bevy of department heads that are really frustrated, because they’re not sure who they report to, they’re not sure what they’re supposed to be doing, and that’s not a way to run the city.”
Bing said he realizes that city government is a difficult animal to manage.
“That’s obvious being where we were and where we are,” he said. “I’m at four-and-a-half years, and I can tell you, I’ve still got a learning curve.”
That being said, Bing said, he believe that his office — along with the legislature — should still be running things downtown.
“And, if in fact we’re not moving the ball as fast and as well as people think we should, he can come in and do some different things,” said Bing.
“But what’s happening now is we’ve got a lot of outside consultants that have taken the place of some of our department heads. They know absolutely nothing about the department or running city services,” said Bing.
“And I think that we’ve gone backwards, quite frankly, in terms of services, which were already poor.”
Under Public Act 436, Michigan’s emergency manager law, Detroit City Council and the mayor have few powers while an EM is at the helm.
Declaring that Detroit would not be able to pay off more than $18 billion owed to creditors, Orr in July filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy on behalf of the city.
Orr has been on the job in Detroit since March. He receives an annual salary of $275,000, paid by the state.