DETROIT — The city’s emergency manager and its mayor-elect announced a plan Thursday to divide responsibilities for running the government, as Detroit reorganizes under US bankruptcy laws.
The agreement between Kevyn D. Orr, the state-appointed emergency manager, and Mike Duggan, who becomes Detroit’s mayor next month, establishes guidelines and specific duties for managing city operations.
The move is considered a critical step in the broader turnaround of Detroit, which in July became the largest American municipality to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.
Under the agreement, Orr will continue to manage the city’s overall financial operations, oversee federal grants, and maintain oversight of the city’s police department. Duggan will be responsible for day-to-day operations and will appoint non-civil-service positions within the executive branch of city government.
By sharing duties, Orr and Duggan have provided a blueprint for how the city will function during what is expected to be a lengthy bankruptcy process.
Orr, who was appointed in March as Detroit’s emergency manager by Governor Rick Snyder, said the collaborative working arrangement was a necessary step for the city’s revival.
“Mayor-elect Duggan and I have come up with a way to manage day-to-day operations and the financial restructuring in a collaborative fashion that puts the best interests of all of its 700,000 residents first,” Orr said in a statement.
Since his appointment, Orr has virtually run the city government without delegating much authority to Mayor Dave Bing or the City Council.
But with his term as emergency manager set to expire in September 2014, Orr has proved more willing to turn over significant powers to Duggan, who won election in November.
“The people of Detroit elected me to change the quality of life in their city,” Duggan said in a statement. “This agreement will allow the team I am assembling to impact city services that touch our residents every day.”