Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) is expected to announce Thursday that Kevyn Orr, a financial specialist who oversaw Chrysler’s bankruptcy, will supplant elected officials and become the de facto leader of Detroit’s government as the city’s acting emergency manager, according to The Detroit News.
City officials, who face a massive outstanding debt totaling more than $14 billion, have long objected to the selection of an emergency manager. Still, the mayor and council may be forced to accept municipal bankruptcy, or be prevented from doing anything about the manager’s actions for up to one year.
Snyder aides told reporters that a media briefing Thursday afternoon will clarify the governor’s vision for the city moving forward. He announced that Detroit is in a state of financial emergency on March 1 but did not publicly name his choice to assume management of the city government’s functions.
Under a law that takes effect this month, emergency managers have the power to supersede the decisions of elected officials and fire government employees, modify or cancel contracts and sell off city assets to pay debts.
Michigan’s emergency manager law was repealed by the voters last November, but Snyder and the Republican-dominated legislature passed a replacement just weeks later that gives governing bodies a few more options once they are placed under a state of financial emergency.
Orr did not respond to a request for comment.
Photo: Flickr user Detroit Regional Chamber, creative commons licensed.