Here’s some of what was said during the news conference, following Judge Steven Rhodes’s approval of the city’s Plan of Adjustment.
Following the formal statements, reporters asked a few questions. Here are some of what was said during responses.
Snyder: “We have a common customer. Every citizen of the city of Detroit is also a citizen of Michigan.”
Rosen: “I think the legacy of this bankruptcy will be teamwork. … It’s amazing what you can do when, first of all, you don’t care who gets the credit and, second of all, you’re willing to open your minds and your hearts to people who may have different views from you.”
Rosen: I’m sure any reviewing court will look at what we’ve done here and what we’ve accomplished as a whole. …
Rosen: “Three different branches of govern working together. … that’s unique.”
Snyder: “Part of the grand bargain was keeping people out of that social safety net that we provide at that level.
Orr: “The governor from the outset was very concerned from the standpoint of fairness and from the standpoint of compassion. … that process will be rolled out. We’ll give you more information but no one should have a fear that because o the adjustments being made to pensions that they’ll fall below the poverty level.”
Orr on how the Detroit bankruptcy affects other municipal bankruptcies: “I caution everyone as taking Detroit as a template or a precedent for anywhere else.” Each municipal bankruptcy will have different factors including debt load, borrowing ability, worker-to-retiree ratios and legacy debt obligations. “Everyone’s different. People have to be very careful.”
Mayor Mike Duggan also had a positive statement, thanking many. Here are excerpts of what he said:
“We had a 40-year dispute on the water system and it’s almost like a footnote that it was solved in the course of this process. What all the judges and all the mediators did in this process was remarkable.
On speaking with Kevyn Orr’s wife:
“The one thing we both agree on is we are very happy that he’s going back home.”
On his relationship and opinion of Kevyn Orr:
“Kevyn and I did not start out on the best of terms. … but through the entire thing he was 100 percent open and honest. … I don’ know how anyone could do anything but acknowledge he did a fine job. The entire city owes you a debt of gratitude. “
On Gov. Snyder:
“This is the second biggest day of the week for the governor.” He has invited the governor and his staff to visit the city next month and then have dinner at the Manoogian mansion, the mayor’s official residence.
Council President Brenda Jones spoke next:
“Judge Rhodes’s decision has given new life to the city we all love,” she said. “We must control costs and finances. We must find more efficient methods of delivering services. More importantly we must find ways of employing the long-suffering people of Detroit … A plan for our people is critical … while we celebrate our efforts on bankruptcy, let’s focus our efforts on getting citizens back to work making our streets safe and … making a safe and growing city … I’m excited on this day and I look forward to wroking with stakeholders to lead our city and build a city we can all be proud of. … Now I say, Detroit, we will rise.
Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr said he could “take all day” thanking all the people who deserved to be thanks. “All I would like to say is I think what you saw today is the best of us. The best of Detroiters, the best of Michiganders, the best of Americans.”
He described today as this:
“The rule of law, comedy, civility and unity prevailed, sometimes not too easily. But eventually came through.”
He acknowledged that the media reported accurately and explained the bankruptcy to citizens “in a way that I could not.”
He choked up in thanking his wife and children. “That kind of keeping me grounded is something you can’t buy. She is the love of my life.”
Now up, Gov. Rick Snyder. Here’s some of what he said.
“The city has a bright future and it was because of the hard work of so many people.”
“For too long it had been Detroit versus Michigan in too many ways. … There has been a massive change in our state… It’s not Detroit, Michigan. That needs to last. … The only reason the settlements took place and the plan of approval took place is because so many people rallied.”
“It happened because of retirees. That’s something we should never forget. I appreciate the sacrifices that are being made.”
“Hopefully we continue to see a strong comeback in the city. We need to recognize that we all came together.”
“We do need to redouble our efforts on the neighborhoods.”
“I look forward to a traditional governance structure with the mayor and city council playing a leading role and having a partner in state govenrment.”
Rosen is thanking the retirees and their representatives.
“As Judge Rhodes indicated in his opinion, in a sense this bankruptcy was focused on them to a large degree and the $3.5 billion in underfunding of their pensions,” Rosen said. “They were wonderful negotiating partners. Tough when they needed to be. Tough, open-minded and open-hearted when they needed to be.”
He’s also thanking the mediation team.
Chief U.S. District Judge is leading off the news conference. He thanked Mayor Mike Duggan.
“Once the mayor took office in January he was a full partner in mediations that led to the settlements that you heard in Judge Rhodes’s opinion. I’m going to editorialize a little here but Detroit has a great mayor,” Rosen said. “Knowing that Mike is the mayor makes me even more confident in the future of Detroit.”
Then he thanked Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, describing his position as “difficult.”
“Kevyn and his team performed remarkably and they are to a great extent responsible for bringing us where we are today,” Rosen said. “And I include within his team the Jones Day law firm.”
He went on to praise the foundations who are contributing $366 million to Detroit’s pensions.
When I first talked about the grand bargain, people looked at me like I was crazy,” Rosen said. “This would not have been possible without the foundation community.”
The largest grant is $125 million from the Ford Foundation. The Kresge Foundation is in for $100 million.
First up is U.S. Chief District Judge Gerald Rosen.
“Although we have come to the end of a chapter in Detroit’s storied history, Chapter 9, today isn’t the end but it may be the end of the beginning.”
He says his best decision in the case was recommending that Judge Steven Rhodes be appointed to oversee the case.
“What Judge Rhodes displayed today in rendering the opinion he rendered not only justified the confidence that we all on our court had in him but that he exceeded even all of the high expectations that we had and more than justified the confidence that we had. He presided over this case with fairness, integrity and honor and he brought honor to the proceedings and a firm guiding hand to this case. It simply could not have been handled the way it was handled without Steve Rhodes at the helm.”
Rosen also thanked Gov. Rick Snyder, who is standing next him on the podium, and the legislative leadership in Lansing. “Without these legislative leaders we wouldn’t be here today,” Rosen said.