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Detroit's emergency manager extends 'olive branch'

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 25, 2013 at 6:26 pm •  Published: March 25, 2013

Tate told The Associated Press that he and Orr discussed where the councilman stood on the state's emergency manager law and cooperating with Orr on some financial issues.

"If his actions are in line with his words, we do have a major opportunity to succeed," Tate said. "If he's successful in terms of addressing the financial challenges, we all succeed."

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

State law allows emergency managers to negotiate labor contracts and deals with vendors. He can sell off city assets to raise money and cut the salaries of elected officials to save bucks. In some cities with emergency managers, elected leaders have been moved out of decisions involving municipal finances.

Benton Harbor, Flint, Pontiac, Ecorse and Allen Park are other cities with emergency managers. Public school districts in Muskegon Heights, Highland Park and Detroit also have managers.

"I think they are taking away our right to vote and govern ourselves," protester Brenda Nuamah said of the state's emergency manager law. "I don't see the emergency financial managers anywhere in this state making a difference."

Another group of protesters from Detroit demonstrated Monday outside the Cleveland offices of the international Jones Day law firm. Orr resigned as a partner in the firm after taking the emergency manager's job in Detroit.