INTERVIEW: Incoming Detroit Emergency Financial Manager Kevyn Orr outlines plan for city

DETROIT (WXYZ) - So who is Detroit's emergency financial manager?

He's a highly successful business attorney from one of the nation's largest law firms located in Washington, D.C.

But Kevyn Orr is convinced he should walk away from his substantial income and position with his firm. He's doing so to tackle an assignment that he calls, "a call to action."

Orr knows some people in Detroit don't want an emergency manager, but his history in business has prepared him for rejection.

"You're sort of the undertaker that walks up to the front door…I am rarely welcomed," he told Detroit media Thursday afternoon.

Orr is a Florida native and father. His children will continue to live in the nation's capitol with their mother who is a physician.

Meanwhile, Orr will move to Detroit to take on a restructuring job of historic proportion.

His history in big corporate bankruptcies includes his work with Chrysler during their 2009 bailout. Orr says he will rely on the very good work of professional audit teams that have prepared reports and analysis on Detroit's financial crisis to give him a quick start to the process

Orr's familiar with the depth and breadth of Detroit's financial crisis, but says he plans to attack issues first.

"The provision of city services to the citizens, our customers… retiree and employee benefits and then the debt service," in that order says Orr.

Orr will officially resign from one of the largest law firms in the county Friday to take a job that will pay him a fraction of what he earned. So why this, and why now? 

"This falls in the bucket of public service," Orr says. "I love Detroit and Michigan and I would not be where I am without my Michigan education… and to participate in something as significant  and important as this is a call to action."

"Everything is on the table" says Orr on his approach to Detroit's debt, and it's current inability to provide services. "If we can do this, I will have participated in one of the greatest turnarounds in the history of this country," he says. "That is something I can tell my grandkids about… so it's very inviting and very challenging. "

Orr hopes to have a full partnership with Detroit's elected officials going forward and he has a warning for those who don't have the same goal in mind. It will be a tough, but necessary road, he says--but, "don't make me go to bankruptcy court."

Orr has a great deal of experience there.
 

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