Detroit's EFM begins his work, meets with council members

Detroit's EFM begins his work, meets with council members

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"I envision them participating in this process to the extent permitted by law," Emergency Financial Manager Kevyn Orr said about Detroit City Council members during a news conference.  (Credit: Fox 2 News) "I envision them participating in this process to the extent permitted by law," Emergency Financial Manager Kevyn Orr said about Detroit City Council members during a news conference. (Credit: Fox 2 News)
DETROIT (WJBK) -

Kevyn Orr, Detroit's new financial emergency manager, met with several city leaders during his first day on the job, but not everyone is thrilled with his arrival.

"He doesn't know the city like we do.  He doesn't know the residents like we do.  He doesn't know the concerns like we do," said Council Member James Tate, who spoke exclusively to Fox 2.

Tate is hoping he can continue to serve his constituents.

Council members were among the first to meet the city's new EFM.  It is possible council could be stripped of its powers, but not on Monday.

"There's a role for City Council," said Orr.  "They are elected officials.  I am not.  I am an appointed official.  They certainly have their ear to the rail and pulse of the community.  That's why they were elected, and I envision them participating in this process to the extent permitted by law."

Orr is now overseeing the largest state takeover in our country's history.  He said his team is looking for places he and city officials can work together to make necessary cuts.

"I didn't come here for a salary, number one, and so if mine is cut, it's cut.  My commitment is to the citizens of the city," said Mayor Dave Bing.

Outside it was a very different story.  Protestors said the people they elected should be the ones making the tough calls.

"It is white racism.  It is economic exploitation, and it is illegal and immoral," said Protester Rev. Edward Rowe.

Orr spent much of his first day meeting with consultants looking to form new partnerships with the city.  Then he met with each member of city council for half an hour.

Tate called his meeting short but productive.

"The most important thing we talked about was just making sure that there was a collaborative relationship, and I expressed to him right off the top that I'm not supportive of an emergency manager, and it's not personal to him whatsoever," he said.  "But he's here, and it's imperative that we identify how do we ensure success in this city."

Later this week, Orr will make a major announcement regarding City Council's salaries.  On Thursday, the new emergency manager law takes effect giving him the power to cut City Council and the mayor's salaries and benefits and restore them to a figure more appropriate for a cash-strapped city.

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