Detroit mayor criticizes emergency manager's style
DETROIT Oct 16 (Reuters) - Detroit Mayor Dave Bing blasted the city's state-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr as being in over his head when it comes to operating the city, according to a deposition related to the city's bankruptcy filing.
In the deposition taken Monday with attorneys representing Detroit unions, retirees, a bond insurer and the emergency manager, Bing, who was opposed to an emergency manager for Detroit, said Orr sidelined his efforts to run the city on a day-to-day basis and restructure its government.
The mayor said he agreed with a scathing assessment of Orr by Kriss Andrews, who was forced out of his job as the city's program manager in July. In an email cited in the deposition, Andrews concluded that Orr was "embarrassingly incompetent and only listened to his equally incompetent staff..." when it came to the operation of Detroit.
"From my vantage point, you know, I'm not going to give him a grade from A to F in either one of those areas, but I would agree that his strength was in dealing with the long-term liabilities and not operations," Bing said in the deposition.
Orr, a former corporate bankruptcy attorney was tapped by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to be Detroit's emergency manager in March. In July, he took the city to federal court where he filed the biggest Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.
Bing said he had been led to believe that Orr would be concentrating on restructuring the cash-strapped city's balance sheet, leaving his administration with the responsibility for operating Detroit.
He added that people in his administration were "frustrated as hell" as Orr filled some positions with consultants. One of Orr's appointees, Chief Financial Officer Jim Bonsall, resigned on Tuesday after allegations arose last week that he made racist remarks.
"My big concern there is at some point in time we will come out of bankruptcy and if you don't have the people internally
that know the system and you have all these consultants doing the job that city employees ought to be doing, when Kevyn leaves, which could be within the next 11 months, and those consultants leave, you haven't developed anybody to run the city on a day-to-day basis," Bing said.
In response to questions about the deposition, Orr told reporters Wednesday that he has tried to be as "positive and complimentary to the mayor as I can."
"I am focused on being positive and moving forward and getting this city in a great position with the efforts we have got to do as soon as we can," Orr said. "If he feels it is appropriate to make those kinds of comments, that's his choice."