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Detroit City Council scrutinizes contract with EM's former firm

Sarah Cwiek
Michigan Radio

The Detroit City Council is reviewing a $3 million-plus contractwith emergency manager’s Kevyn Orr’s former law firm.

Jones Day would assist the city through its restructuring. Some Council members suggest there are conflicts of interest because Jones Day also represents several Detroit creditors.

But acting Detroit corporation counsel Edward Keelan says Jones Day is the right choice—and has some incentive to do it right. “This can be a template for other municipal re-organizations,” Keelan said.

An Orr spokesman says the emergency manager has no direct conflict because he’s quit his job with Jones Day.

Council member Ken Cockrel Jr. also wants to know whether anyone is monitoring all the consultants the city has retained to help its restructuring.

“I think there needs to be at least some clarification on that, to make sure we don’t have too many cooks in the kitchen,” Cockrel said.

The Council’s review of the contract is largely symbolic. Orr now has the final say in all the city’s major-budget-decisions, including contracts.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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