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Detroit EM Will Not Replace City Council Members Despite Charter Laws

DETROIT (WWJ) - Back in March, the state hired Kevyn Orr to take over control of Detroit's finances. The city is running a $380 million deficit this year, and Orr says long-term debt could top $17 billion.

Now, Orr has ordered the City Council not to name replacements for two colleagues that resigned.

The council is now down to sixmembers. The city charter requires the council to appoint people to vacancies, but emergency manager Kevyn Orr has issued an order that it not do so.

WWJ Legal Analyst Charlie Langton says "Public Act 436" overrules what's in the city charter:

" ... the state law that created the emergency manager - the law is very clear - that the emergency manager law trumps a city charter, so despite what the city of Detroit's Charter says about appointing vacancies to City Council it makes no difference now that there is an emergency manager there," said Langton.

Langton says legally Orr can tell City Council, which now numbers seven, that their services are no longer needed.

Gary Brown resigned the council last week to join Orr's staff, and Kwame Kenyatta quit last month.

In addition, council President Charles Pugh has been absent without explanation for several weeks. Orr has stripped Pugh of his salary and his authority over the absenteeism.

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