Kevyn Orr Looks Back on Detroit’s Bankruptcy

Detroit’s former Emergency Manager, now in Washington, reflects on his work and the city’s financial status.

Speaking with Detroit Today Host Stephen Henderson at the Mackinac Policy Conference, former Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr says, “I miss it here.”

Working at his current job back at the Jones Day law firm in Washington, Orr says, “It feels like I’m jogging not running.”

At the policy conference this time last year, Orr says the technical details of the “grand bargain” were still being worked out.  And now, he says the city is in a better place than he thought it would be by this time.

Henderson points out that soon, city pensioners affected by the bankruptcy will be receiving reduced checks.  Orr says that every day, he wishes that he and other officials involved in the bankruptcy could have done more.  But he says, “I’m comfortable, we did the best we could.”  Orr says financial help came in from outside of the state that he did not anticipate.

Henderson also remarked on the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on Detroit’s bankruptcy.  He asks Orr, “How do you defend the cost?” 

Orr says that addressing a problem that has been accumulating for 60 years takes a lot of work.  “The reality is, you get what you pay for. It was worth the cost,” says Orr.

Listen to the full conversation by clicking the audio player above.