Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder appointed a bankruptcy expert to lead the struggling city of Detroit out of its financial trouble today, naming high-profile lawyer Kevyn Orr as the city’s emergency manager.
The move makes Detroit the largest city in the nation to undergo state takeover. The city faces a $327 million budget deficit and more than $14 billion in long-term debt, according to the Associated Press.
“We can rise from the ashes,” Orr said at a press conference. “This is a beautiful city and a wonderful state that gave me my start. I feel compelled to do this job.”
Detroit Mayor Steve Bing and the City Council will keep their jobs, but Orr holds the reins of the city’s finances, including salaries and labor contracts.
“Today marks the beginning of us bringing health back to the city of Detroit,” Bing said in his announcement.
Orr represented Chrysler during its 2009 bankruptcy restructuring. Taking the emergency manager job means giving up his job at Jones Day law firm, but Orr said he is eager for the challenge.
“It’s not that I’m altruistic, but if we can do this, I will have participated in one of the greatest turnarounds in the history of this country,” he said.
Orr’s appointment was approved later today by Michigan’s Emergency Loan Board, AP reported.Public unions fought back against Snyder’s announcement that he would appoint a manager, and the City Council had said they would file a challenge as well. But the City Council decided earlier today to not challenge Snyder’s appointment in court, the Detroit Free Press reported.