The Craig Fahle Show

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr On What's Next For Detroit

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr speaks with WDET's Laura Weber-Davis and bankruptcy reporter and Next Chapter Detroit blogger Sandra Svoboda about the package of bills approved earlier this week to fund Detroit’s “Grand Bargain,” the importance of bipartisan cooperation in the dealings and what’s next in Detroit’s Chapter 9 bankruptcy .

“It’s certainly a time for celebration,” Orr tells them of the historic $195 million aid package that was approved by the state Senate. Orr says he plans to carry that positive momentum forward. He also reiterated that the Detroit Institute of Arts will be protected through the “Grand Bargain” and in court proceedings, from creditors who want the artwork sold to help pay the city’s debts.

Orr touched on the 2000 faulty ballots that were sent out to general service city employees (ie non-uniform pensioners). “The judge has given me some tough love,” he says of the mistake, but Orr is set on moving forward from the mishap. “It was a mistake, but it wasn't a bad mistake,” he says.

As for the dispute over federal dollars Detroit received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Orr says the federal government has the right, like anyone else, to file an objection. He also says that the objection doesn't necessarily reflect the overall relationship between Detroit and representatives from the U.S. Department of Treasury and other federal groups. “That relationship is quite good,” he says.

The future of the Water Department is still up in the air though. While Orr emphasized that the Water Department is not being sold, he is in talks with a couple of potential contractors that could possibly enter an operation and management agreement with the department. Orr hopes the eventual solution will increase returns to the city and investors, while preserving the department’s tax exempt status.

--Annamarie Sysling