Nation

150 protest Detroit’s new overseer

Monday was Kevyn Orr’s first day as Detroit’s emergency manager.
Paul Sancya/AP Photo
Monday was Kevyn Orr’s first day as Detroit’s emergency manager.

DETROIT — Detroit’s new emergency manager offered an ‘‘olive branch’’ Monday to local leaders who fought against creating his job, even as a crowd of protesters rallied outside City Hall during his first day trying to revive the city’s beleaguered finances.

Kevyn Orr, a bankruptcy attorney and turnaround specialist who represented automaker Chrysler LLC during its successful restructuring, met with Mayor Dave Bing and at least two City Council members Monday as he began an 18-month term as emergency manager. Detroit is the nation’s largest city ever put under state control.

During a brief news conference, Orr said he offered to work together with city leaders. Outside City Hall, about 150 protesters argued that Orr’s presence takes away residents’ voting rights.

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‘‘Anybody who believes the right to vote is sacred, ought to stand with us,’’ the Rev. Alexander Bullock told the growing crowd. ‘‘This is about a [governor’s] administration trying to destroy democracy. While we fight for democracy on foreign soil, we are being shackled at home.’’

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Some on the council also have fiercely opposed an emergency manager coming to Detroit, despite the city’s $327 million budget deficit and more than $14 billion in long-term debt. Orr met privately in his new office in City Hall with Councilman James Tate and Council president Charles Pugh.

Orr’s spokesman, Bill Nowling, declined to reveal specifics from those conversations.

Orr was hired earlier this month after a national search by Governor Rick Snyder, who, along with a review board, determined that Detroit is in a financial emergency and has no adequate plan to address it.

Associated Press