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Detroit emergency manager makes $275k, maintains salaries for city officials

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Michal Conger

Michigan has warned Detroit it will get no state money for “business as usual,” but Kevyn Orr, the emergency manager tasked with turning the city’s finances around, is keeping one thing the same: city officials’ salaries.

Orr ordered on Tuesday that Mayor Dave Bing and city council members’ salaries remain unchanged, the Detroit Free Press reported. The appointment of an emergency manager automatically sets their salaries at zero, and it’s up the the manager to decide whether to partially or completely restore them.

“Detroiters need their elected representatives on the job and working collaboratively toward the solutions that will solve our immediate financial crisis and position the city to grow and thrive,” Orr said Tuesday, The Free Press reported. “I wanted the first order issued to reaffirm how important the Mayor and City Council members are to Detroit’s turnaround.”

Bing’s base salary is $158,559, and base pay for council members is $73,181, and $76,911 for the council President, Charles Pugh, according to the Free Press.

Orr makes a $275,000 salary, half of which is covered by the state, according to Reuters.

But Lansing isn’t interested in funding the status quo, State House Speaker Jase Bolger warned.

“We’re not the slightest bit interested in providing more money for business as usual,” he said.

Detroit is already benefitting from state money and significant tax breaks to keep it from going under completely.  The state is covering 50 percent of consulting contracts totaling nearly $5 million, according to Reuters, and special state programs and tax provisions generate an extra $164 million for the city.

But the state doesn’t have the money to fund Detroit’s entire turnaround, Bolger said.

“I don’t think there will be a direct (state) appropriation” to facilitate a Detroit turnaround, he said. “But if there’s a partnership, that’s good for everybody.”

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