Mackinac Policy Conference: Mayor Duggan clarifies Jones Day role, timeline

Mackinac Policy Conference: Mayor Duggan clarifies Jones Day role, timeline

In court last week, Judge Steven Rhodes questioned Detroit attorneys what would happen with the city’s contract with the Jones Day law firm if the Chapter 9 case isn’t finished at the end of the September. That’s the timeframe Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr has given for his departure from Detroit, and the date he and the judge have had for wrapping up history’s biggest municipal bankruptcy case.

“We have not had discussions to my knowledge going beyond that,” Gregory Shumaker, a Jones Day attorney, said in court. “The mayor, the city council, it would be up to them whether Jones Day would continue its representation of the city.”

Following that exchange, the Detroit Free Press followed up with a story about Mayor Mike Duggan’s plans, reporting a spokesperson said the mayor would not support keeping the Washington D.C.-based law firm beyond Orr’s exit.

Today on Mackinac Island, Mayor Duggan corrected that:

“There must have been some miscommunication here because Oct. 1, I’m quite confident that the City Council is going to terminate Kevyn Orr’s tenure but it makes no sense to terminate Jones Day. They’re in the middle of all the legal stuff. There’s been no conversation about Jones Day,” Duggan told a crowd of reporters.

The mayor also said he continues to work closely with Orr. But while the mayor has control of most of the city operations, the Detroit Police Department remains with Orr.

“Every week I say to Kevyn Orr, ‘I’m ready to run the police department,’ and every week he says, ‘not this week,’” Duggan said.

What’s the hold up?

“You’re going to have to ask him,” the mayor answered.

Orr plans to be on Mackinac Island for a Friday keynote address.

-By WDET’s Sandra Svoboda

@WDETSandra and nextchapter@wdet.org