There are multiple reports that Kevyn Orr has ordered City Council President Charles Pugh to “show up” for work on Wednesday, June 26th, or lose his salary, benefits and perhaps other means of compensation. If true, this would be a violation of the law. Kevyn Orr does not have the ability or the authority to issue such an order under the city charter nor under state law Public Act 436 of 2012.
Public Act 436 mandates that upon the appointment of an Emergency Manager that the salary of the local mayor and city council be immediately rescinded. See Section 13, which is the only portion of the act that addresses the salary of local officials. This occurred when Orr was first appointed by Governor Snyder. Not long after Orr issued an order, still in effect, that provides for the salary of the mayor and the members of city council. This was Order No 1 of the EM. An excerpt reads;
“The Emergency Manager has determined that at the present time the restoration of the salary, wages, compensation, and other benefits of the Mayor and the City Council is consistent with the financial and operating plan”
“2. The salary, wages, compensation and other benefits of the Detroit City Council are hereby restored, immediately and in full upon the effective date hereof, as if they had never been eliminated.”
Because Orr did not specifically state each council members name, nor add conditions for the retention of salary nor enter into any type of contract for the continuation of the salary of the city council and mayor, Orr cannot now rescind this order.
Additionally Public Act 436 does not allow for the Emergency Manager to remove, eliminate or rescind the salary, wages, and compensation of those elected officials after they have been restored under the powers of the act. The sole condition is that the terms be that which the EM considers appropriate to be consistent with the financial and operating plan.
Since Orr never entered this into a plan or an agreement, he cannot now modify his previous order for this council or its replacement after the November elections. Lastly Pugh does not report to Orr as Pugh did not report to Mayor Bing. The council may at any time take leave of absences without permission from other government bodies. The council polices itself. Pugh, Kenyatta and any council member does not need permission to miss council sessions. There is not any requirement nor rule as to how often or how long council must meet as a body. If abuse is suspected, or if there is an accusation that impropriety has occurred, or a violation of the ethics ordinance has occurred, or any type of wrong doing up to and including any suspected violation of the city charter, there are multiple city departments that are responsible for the independent investigation. Orr only has the ability to submit a request to have Pugh’s actions investigated. Pugh cannot be assumed to be guilty just because an Emergency Manager has been placed over the city of Detroit.