DETROIT (AP) — Detroit Mayor-elect Mike Duggan said Thursday that he and emergency manager Kevyn Orr will share some of the duties of running the cash-strapped city but the bulk of the financial responsibilities will remain under Orr's control.
Duggan revealed his role during a news conference that Orr did not attend. He has been given control over blight removal, public lighting and the fire department. Orr still will oversee the police department.
The move to more clearly define Duggan's responsibilities under state oversight as he takes over the top elected office next month follows several weeks of negotiations between the two men, whose relationship will be key in their leadership arrangement.
Orr, appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder in March under Michigan's emergency manager law, will continue overseeing most city finances as he steers Detroit through restructuring as part of the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.
Although having control over the police force was on Duggan's wish list, he said he will focus on the issues they agreed he would tackle.
"We're going to move very quickly now on blight, on public lighting and on the fire department," Duggan told reporters Thursday afternoon. "You're going to see a lot of activity, even in the next two weeks. And I expect in all of those areas the citizens of the city of Detroit will see real results in 2014."
Duggan also will have control over financial matters relating to the day-to-day function of city government, according to his agreement with Orr. He will appoint all non-civil service positions within his office, but they have to be approved by Orr.
Orr issued a statement Thursday morning.
"There is one goal in Detroit and that is to create a strong, vibrant and solvent city and this agreement will help us achieve that," Orr said. "Mayor-Elect Duggan and I have come up with a way to manage day-to-day operations and the financial restructuring in a collaborative fashion that puts the best interests of all of its 700,000 residents first."
Duggan, former chief executive of the Detroit Medical Center, was elected in November and takes over as mayor in January. He succeeds Dave Bing who did not seek re-election to a second term.
Bing had complained of a strained relationship with Orr within months after the bankruptcy expert was given control of Detroit's finances. Duggan on Thursday described his relationship with Orr as "professional."
"You will not hear me publicly criticizing the emergency manager," he said.
A federal judge on Dec. 3 approved Orr's petition to take Detroit into bankruptcy. Orr says the city's debt is at least $18 billion.