LANSING, Mich. (WJBK) -
If Detroit’s Emergency Manager spends anymore time in this town, the legislature can declare him a dependent on their income tax forms.
For somebody who doesn't’t know squat about politics, here is Kevyn Orr smack dab in the middle of the most political joint in the state and for the most part he is getting very good marks.
Both Republicans and Democrats have remarked that he knows his stuff when it comes to crunching and explaining the numbers surrounding Detroit's bankruptcy but when it comes to the politics, not so much. And even Mr. Orr concedes the point.
Yet he has had to confront the politics of getting reluctant, some would say, recalcitrant lawmakers, to cough up enough yes votes to funnel $195 million in state aid to Detroit retires.
“Without this settlement, make no mistake, we will have to go back to the drawing board,” he warned the house committee vetting this proposal and there will be “significant cuts” for those retirees.
But on two occasions lawmakers wanted to know what Mr. Orr would do about the other cities that are on the financial brink, too.
In public, he said he was hired to work on Detroit and he was “agnostic” on the rest of the cities.
But then it came up in private in a closed door meeting with House Democrats.
Generally it’s assumed that they will vote yes on the Grand Bargain but if Mr. Orr went into the session thinking it would be a walk in the park, he was dead wrong.
His handlers allotted one hour for questions and answers, so at 2:30 Mr. Orr ended the conversation even though there were a host of questions yet to be answered.
He walked out and it quickly got ugly.
House Democratic leader Rep Tim Greimel (D-Oakland County) had a raucous caucus to claim down.They made it clear they were not finished with Mr. Orr and pretty much demanded he get back there pronto.
The non-politician Mr. Orr complied.
Clearly some of the questions he was getting had to do with the politics of sending money to Detroit and maybe other cities and it was equally clear he was not up to the task and the members understood that.
“It’s time for the governor to come in,” reflected one Democrat.
Wonder if Mr. Orr is feeling the same way?
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