Kevyn Orr

Politics & Government
12:08 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Orr's message to Detroit: "I'm going to accomplish this job"

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr didn’t share much new information at his first public meeting Monday night—but he did set the stage for an upcoming meeting with the city’s creditors.

At his first public meeting—required by the emergency manager law that empowers him--Orr told a story we already know: Detroit hasn’t been paying contractors, making pension payments, and has only survived by borrowing billions.

Read more
Politics & Government
1:07 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Detroit's emergency manager will meet with the public tonight

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, Gov. Rick Snyder, and Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.
mich.gov Michigan Government

Tonight, Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr will hold a public informational meeting. It's scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the Wayne State University Law School Spencer M. Partrich Auditorium.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek will be there and will give us an update later tonight.

According to Kirk Pinho at Crain’s Detroit Business:

The meeting is required under Public Act 436 of 2012, the state's emergency manager law, within 30 days of Orr submitting his financial and operational plan to the state Department of Treasury, although it does not need approval from the electorate or the treasury department.

Orr submitted his plan on May 13.

The plan largely reaffirmed what was already known about Detroit's financial problems, including that the city has a budget deficit of $380 million and over $15 billion in debt and liabilities.

The Wayne State Law School is located at 471 W. Palmer St.

Read more
Politics & Government
12:24 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Orr to meet with creditors next week, but will the negotiations help the city avoid bankruptcy?

Sarah Cwiek/Michigan Radio

Next week Kevyn Orr will be meeting with creditors to start negotiations in attempts to keep the city from going bankrupt.

According to Matt Helms of the Detroit Free Press, the negotiations will includes over 150 representatives from the city’s major creditors including national banks who hold the city’s bonds, insurers, union representatives, and pensioners.

Read more
Stateside
5:20 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Detroit faces a 'Day of Reckoning'

Inside the Detroit Institute of Arts
Maia C/Flickr

An interview with Daniel Howes.

It's Thursday, which means it’s time for our weekly check-in with Detroit News Business Columnist Daniel Howes.

This week, it seems the topic is the fact that the proverbial "Day of Reckoning" is at hand when it comes to the City of Detroit. Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr is trying to work out settlements with the city's creditors, and the treasures at the Detroit Institute of Arts could be at risk.

He joined us in the studio today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
7:53 am
Wed June 5, 2013

In this morning's news: Budget passed in Legislature, bill to protect DIA, gas prices in Michigan

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Budget awaits Governor Snyder's signature

State lawmakers passed a budget that would increase funding to local governments and schools.

"Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville calls it the best budget he’s ever helped pass.  But the budget does not include Snyder’s request to expand Medicaid or increase road funding by more than a billion dollars," Michigan Radio's Jake Neher reports.

Senate voting to protect DIA

The Michigan Senate is expected to vote today on a measure to protect the Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit's emergency manager Kevyn Orr has warned the Institute's assets could be at risk if the city goes bankrupt. If this bill passes, the same protections would apply to collections in other museums across Michigan.

Michigan gas prices amongst highest in nation

Gasoline prices in Michigan are the second highest in the United States right now. It could be several weeks before there's any relief at the pump.

"Analyst Patrick deHaan of GasBuddy dot com says there are fewer gasoline refineries in the Midwest than other parts of the country, and gasoline commodity traders are also driving up the prices," Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports.

Politics & Government
1:05 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

With an emergency manager in office, do city council budget proposals matter?

Detroit City Council
Stephen Boyle

Earlier this morning, Detroit’s city council voted unanimously to override Mayor Dave Bing’s veto of budget cuts proposed by the council.

Last week, the mayor rejected changes the city council wanted implemented in the city’s $1-billion budget for fiscal year 2013-14, including cuts to his own office. The Detroit News reported:

“The council wanted deeper cuts to Bing's staff and quicker implementation of a new health care cost-sharing formula.

Bing however did not turn down deeper cuts the council recommended for its own department and the consolidation of its divisions.”

The council's override of Bing's veto was unanimous (8-0). Charles Pugh, the president of the council, said this was proof that the council was “standing united.”

But with Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr at the helm of the city’s finances, how much does a united city council matter when it comes to Detroit’s budget?

Read more
Politics & Government
11:36 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Other cultural institutions on notice after DIA assets counted

The Detroit Institute of Arts.
DIA

The Detroit News' Christine Ferretti writes this morning that other Detroit cultural institutions are on high alert after the news came that assets at the Detroit Institute of Arts are being counted as potential assets of the city that can be sold to pay off debts.

Read more
Politics & Culture
4:51 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Stateside for Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A state-appointed review team found the small city of Hamtramck is once again in a state of financial emergency. Will the city succumb to state control again?

And nearby in Detroit, one prominent observer has growing doubts about the effectiveness of the city's emergency manager.

And, a new film documentary explores the different ways Michigan families have transformed deep loss into opportunities to grow.

Also, Tom Ivacko joined us to discuss how local leaders would like citizen to get involved with government.

Read more
Stateside
4:43 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Where do Kevyn Orr's loyalties lie?

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr
Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

An interview with Karen Dumas.

Over these past couple of months, have Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr's loyalties been more with the city he's running? Or with the state who hired him?

Detroiter Karen Dumas was the chief of communications for the City of Detroit.

These days, she heads up her own PR/Communications firm, Images & Ideas, and she has been watching what's been happening at City Hall.

Her recent column in Bridge Magazine shows that when it comes to Emergency Manager Orr, Karen Dumas has growing doubts.

She joined us today in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
8:42 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Commentary: Sell Detroit’s art treasures?

Lessenberry commentary for 5/28/2013

Before I went on vacation two weeks ago, I thought I could no longer be shocked by anything that might happen in Detroit.

Earlier this spring, the state took over the control of the city, after decades of decline, neglect, crime and financial mismanagement. Nevertheless, I was stunned to come home to the news that Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr might consider selling off the priceless collections of the Detroit Institute of Arts to pay down the city’s massive long-term unfunded liabilities.

Many people didn’t realize the city owned the museum and its collection, which has been run and financed by the private Founders’ Society for years. But technically the city does.

Read more
Politics & Government
6:37 pm
Fri May 24, 2013

City Council approves $1 billion Detroit budget

The Detroit City Council has approved a more than $1 billion budget for the city’s upcoming fiscal year.

That budget is nearly the same as the one Mayor Dave Bing proposed last month.

Read more
Politics & Government
11:34 am
Fri May 24, 2013

Could the DIA be forced to sell art to pay creditors?

DIA

Detroit's emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, wants to account for assets held in the Detroit Institute of Arts, which has sparked fears that part of the collection could be sold in the future.

We've posted information here, and Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek will have an update for us later today.

Update 11:34 a.m.

The DIA just put out this statement on their Facebook page:

"The DIA strongly believes that the museum and the City hold the museum’s art collection in trust for the public. The DIA manages and cares for that collection according to exacting standards required by the public trust, our profession and the Operating Agreement with the City. According to those standards, the City cannot sell art to generate funds for any purpose other than to enhance the collection. We remain confident that the City and the emergency financial manager will continue to support the museum in its compliance with those standards, and together we will continue to preserve and protect the cultural heritage of Detroit."

9:19 a.m.

Detroit is in a big financial hole, and the man in charge of righting the ship wants to know what can be sold.

Mark Stryker and John Gallagher of the Detroit Free Press report that Detroit's emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, is considering whether the DIA's art collection should be counted as assets that can be sold to pay debts:

Liquidating DIA art to pay down debt likely would be a monstrously complicated, controversial and contentious process never before tested on such as large scale and with no certain outcome. The DIA is unusual among major civic museums in that the city retains ownership of the building and collection while daily operations, including fund-raising, are overseen by a nonprofit institution.

Stryker and Gallagher report on the many hurdles facing such a sale, including ...

  • restrictions on selling off city assets in municipal bankruptcy law,
  • museum ethics and operating rules that forbid selling art,
  • opposition from patrons who donated art,
  • and major a public outcry against such a sale:

“There would be hue and cry the likes of which you’ve never heard,” said Ford Bell, president of the American Alliance of Museums in Washington, D.C. “The museum should be a rallying point for the rebirth of Detroit and not a source of funds.”

Orr spokesman Bill Nowling said there's no plan yet to sell any asset of the city, but he said all the city's assets must be accounted for.

Read more
Law
5:10 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Don't know much about Detroit's new Chief of Police? Read this.

James Craig was named Detroit's Chief of Police today
LinkedIn

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr named former Cincinnati Police Chief James Craig as Detroit's new Chief of Police.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Hulett attended the press conference, where Orr announced that Craig will begin July 1, 2013:

The new police chief of Michigan's largest city says he's committed to reducing violence and making the Detroit Police Department a premier police agency.

This announcement followed the plan that Orr outlined in his 45-day report on Detroit's economic status. 

Read more
Politics & Government
5:27 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr discusses financial report

Detroit's Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr
State of Michigan

After 45 days in office, a report from Detroit’s Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr was released this morning, taking an in-depth look at the city’s financial situation.

What’s clear from the 41-page report — Detroit is broke and its finances are in worse shape than previously thought. The city has almost $9.5 billion bonds and other debt, almost $6 billion in unfunded retiree health care, and will end its budget year with a shortfall of more than $160 million.

What do these numbers really mean for the city? And why is there such a disparity between what we’ve heard from city leaders and the report?

Detroit’s Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr joined us in the studio today, to answer these questions and more.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
5:27 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Stateside for Monday, May 13th, 2013

State officials announced over the weekend that they'll lend money to Pontiac schools to avert a pay-less payday.

But, there's no resolution in Buena Vista Township where that school system abruptly shut down after running out of money. On today's show: a temperature check on school funding across Michigan - just how many districts are close to the financial edge?

And Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr joined us today. He released a report on the city's disastrous finances. The State's Emergency Manager law requires this report to be issued  45 days after Orr's appointment.

We also talk about what Marquette, Michigan is doing right. "Placemaking" is leading to efforts to create more livable, vibrant and creative communities. We wanted to find out where "placemaking" is working and how cities across Michigan could benefit. Arnold Weinfeld, the director of Strategic Initiatives at the Michigan Municipal League, joined us to talk about this effort.

Politics & Government
9:44 am
Mon May 13, 2013

Commentary: Two Detroits

Lessenberry commentary for 5/13/2013

I had dinner recently with Elaine Stritch, the Broadway legend who in later years, won new television audiences with her work on everything from The Cosby Show to 30 Rock.

She is 88 now and after living in New York and London since World War II, moved back to her hometown recently, back to greater Detroit. And I was curious about why. Yes, she has some family here, but as Stritch candidly said, she has enough money that she could live anywhere. She told me, it was the sun.

Detroit sunshine is like that of nowhere else in the world, she said, inviting, bright and warm even on chilly days. “In New York, well, the sun is a cold and distant thing,” she said.

Read more
Politics & Government
9:14 am
Mon May 13, 2013

In this morning's news: the state of Detroit, school closings, and a teacher performance bill

Morning News Roundup, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

Detroit is worse off than we thought

"Detroit's state-appointed emergency manager is painting a bleak financial picture. Kevyn Orr's first report says Detroit's net cash position was negative $162 million as of April 26 and that the projected budget deficit is expected to reach $386 million in less than two months. That's more than the city's estimate" reports the Associated Press.

Pontiac schools might be saved; no such luck for Buena Vista

The state is expected to release a payment as soon as today that will keep the Pontiac school district from declaring bankruptcy according to a letter sent to the district last week by the state Department of Education.

"There is still no plan to get 400 kids in the Buena Vista district back to school. Buena Vista closed its doors abruptly after losing a monthly payment because the district owes the state money. " Michigan Radio's Rick Pluta reports.

A new bill would reward teacher performance

"Michigan teachers' performance in the classroom would play a bigger role in the amount they get in their paychecks under a proposal being debated in the state House. Supporters argue that rewarding teachers who perform better and moving away from a system that rewards seniority will improve teachers and benefit students" reports the Associated Press.

Politics & Government
7:52 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

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

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.”

Read more
Politics & Government
6:53 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

Bing lays out proposed budget to preserve "essential" services

Detroiters can expect increased fees and reduced services—and the city’s deficit will still keep growing.

At least that’s the scenario Mayor Dave Bing outlines in his proposed budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

This proposal actually cuts much less from the budget—about $36 million—than the prior year. It focuses on more or less stabilizing “essential city services,” like public safety and transportation.

Read more
Politics & Government
8:29 am
Thu April 11, 2013

In this morning's news: wolf hunt, Jones Day contract, new transit authority

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Wildlife officials recommend wolf hunt for Upper Peninsula

State wildlife officials are recommending today that a hunt on the formerly endangered gray wolf be allowed to take place this fall.

"The Michigan Natural Resources Commission will receive a recommendation to kill 47 wolves as part of a hunt focused in three parts of the Upper Peninsula," Michigan Radio’s Steve Carmody reports.
 

Detroit City Council reviewing Jones Day contract

The Detroit City Council is reviewing a contract with Jones Day, emergency manager Kevyn Orr's former law firm.

"The Jones Day firm is already working with the city on some long-term restructuring. Some Council members suggest there are conflicts of interest because Jones Day also represents several Detroit creditors," according to Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek.

New Regional Transit Authority meets for first time

Transit advocates celebrated the first meeting of metro Detroit's Regional Transit Authority, which will coordinate the region's transit agencies.

"Advocates want the board to develop a master transit plan, and push a region-wide vote to fund transit operations," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Pages