WUOMFM

The 18-month clock has just about expired for Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr

Sep 25, 2014

After voters rejected the state's old emergency manager law in November 2012, Michigan lawmakers quickly came up with a replacement.

State-appointed emergency managers could still take control over local governments and school boards, but under the new law, they could do so for a limited amount of time. 

The new law, Public Act 436, allows for local governments to end a state-appointed emergency manager's term after 18 months. From the law:

If the emergency manager has served for at least 18 months after his or her appointment under this act, the emergency manager may, by resolution, be removed by a 2/3 vote of the governing body of the local government. If the local government has a strong mayor, the resolution requires strong mayor approval before the emergency manager may be removed. 

Orr started work as Detroit's emergency manager on March 28, 2013, so his 18 months is up in the next few days.

Almost everyone thought Detroit City Council and Mayor Duggan would vote to end Orr's appointment, but with Detroit's bankruptcy process wrapping up in court, the talk has changed.

More from Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek:

"... Duggan has used more cautious language when talking about [ending Orr's term] recently. Earlier this month, he called the transition “an amazingly complicated legal process” that requires all parties to agree on a course of action.

And even if Orr is dismissed, “I need him as a bankruptcy lawyer until the [Detroit bankruptcy] trial’s over,” Duggan said. “There’s no question about that. He has the most expertise.

“If there had been no emergency manager and I were the mayor, I would have hired Kevyn Orr as my bankruptcy lawyer.”

Detroit City Council, Mayor Duggan, Orr, bankruptcy lawyers, and state officials have been meeting behind closed doors this week to discuss Orr's role in Detroit.

They're meeting again today as the deadline approaches.

Christine Ferretti and Darren A. Nichols of The Detroit News report Council President Pro Tem George Cushingberry Jr. said earlier this week that they're close to a deal that keeps Orr on until the end of the bankruptcy.

More from the News:

Council members are in a delicate position, given the political pressure to restore elected representation in Detroit while also proving to U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes that they are committed to carrying out the city's bankruptcy exit plan.

Gov. Rick Snyder made it known publicly late Tuesday that Orr should stick around until the city's Chapter 9 case is resolved.

Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014 marks the 18-month mark for Orr, so an announcement should happen before then.