Now on the sidelines, Detroit City Council still wants look at city contracts

Apr 23, 2013

The Detroit City Council wants a clearer view of what emergency manager Kevyn Orr is doing.

Some Council members said Tuesday they want to see all city contracts that Orr approves.

Those contracts are public record. Orr spokesman Bill Nowling says they’re working out “how to post them in an efficient manner,” though there’s no timeline for when that will be up and running.

Councilman Ken Cockrel Jr says that shouldn’t take too long because “it ain’t rocket science.”

“[Contracts] should be given to all members of Council, should be given to the city clerk, and the information should probably even be made available on the city’s website so that people know exactly when contracts are approved by the emergency manager,” Cockrel said.

As emergency manager, Orr has final authority over all budgetary matters, including contracts. Nowling says Orr’s office is still figuring out which, if any, contracts will go through Council at all.

Council members also want information about Orr’s expenses, and where that money is coming out of the city budget.

The state is paying the emergency manager’s $275,000 salary, but the city is picking up the tab for additional costs like travel and security.

Council fiscal analyst Irvin Corley, Jr. says there’s a $400,000 appropriation in next year’s proposed budget that appears to cover those expenses.

As for where that money is coming from now—and how much money has been spent far—Corley says his office is still awaiting answers.