DETROIT — Detroit's emergency manager complained Thursday that critics of the city's bankruptcy are quick with barbs but not with proposals to deal with billions of debt.
Kevyn Orr took Detroit into Chapter 9 bankruptcy last week with the blessing of Gov. Rick Snyder. It's the largest bankruptcy by a local government in U.S. history. While the case is being overseen by a judge, the city and its creditors still are free to negotiate deals that could shorten the process.
"Instead of engaging in a war of words . even if you have to do that for public consumption, come to me confidentially with a counter-proposal. I haven't heard that," Orr said of creditors, unions and other critics. He spoke on the "Craig Fahle Show" on WDET-FM.
Orr has said Detroit has long-term debts of at least $18 billion. The bankruptcy process could take a year or more, but U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes first must find that Detroit is eligible. Some unions plan to challenge it.
"You can't show insolvency. ... We're going to get our day in court," Ed McNeil, a senior negotiator at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said after a court hearing Wednesday.
Rhodes is proposing that another judge, Gerald Rosen of the U.S. District Court in Detroit, act as a mediator in the months ahead. That's on the agenda at the next hearing, Aug. 2.
"We need a sober, mature discussion," Orr said of critics. "If you want to sit around and call me names — we don't have time for that. You're wasting time."