Chrysler Bankruptcy Vet Named Detroit Emergency Manager

Over the protest of city officials and many residents, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder today made the unprecedented move to appoint an emergency manager who will run Detroit's failing finances and hopefully bring the city back from the brink.

Snyder announced that he is naming Washington bankruptcy lawyer Kevyn Orr, at right above, as his candidate for the position, according to the Detroit News. Snyder stressed that Orr still has to be approved by the state's Local Emergency Financial Assistance Loan Board, but it looks like the emergency manager gig will be a go after all.

Orr has experience with both dire financial situations and what makes Detroit tick. He helped shepherd Chrysler through their bankruptcy proceedings in 2009. From the News:

Orr, 54, a University of Michigan law school graduate, helped lead Chrysler through its 2009 bankruptcy. He has be a partner with the Jones Day law firm and specializes in corporate restructuring, bankruptcy, litigation, appeals and legal recruiting and diversity. Orr said Thursday he would resign his partnership with Jones Day.

Orr, who according to bankruptcy court records made $700 an hour during the bankruptcy, was the lead attorney on convincing the court to allow Chrysler to abruptly close a quarter of its U.S. dealerships.

As Detroit Jalopnik noted, the idea of an emergency manager has been largely unpopular in the city because the managers have sweeping powers that supersede local elected officials. Some residents have even been causing intentional traffic jams to protest the move.

But no one will deny that Detroit is in trouble. The city has $15 billion in long-term debt and liabilities, and had a staggering $327 million deficit last year, which would have topped $937 million had they not issued debt to pay their bills, as the News notes.

Photo credit AP