91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Detroit retirees slam Orr's "dumb, lazy" comments

Sarah Cwiek
Michigan Radio

 Some Detroit retirees say emergency manager Kevyn Orr owes them an apology for controversial comments he made to the Wall Street Journal.

A handful of them marched in downtown Detroit Monday to demand that apology.

Orr said a lot of things during the interview, but his statement that "For a long time the city was dumb, lazy, happy and rich," struck a particular nerve.

The words were especially galling to the retirees, who could lose a chunk of their pensions if Orr has his way in bankruptcy court.

Former water department worker Michael Mulholland says that punishes people who trusted the system to safeguard their money.

“I could’ve worked as a contractor in the sewage plant, like the people I worked next to,” Mulholland says. “And they got more money than me, but they didn’t get the pension. That was the agreement.”

Fellow city retiree Cordell Lovelady marched with a sign that read “I am NOT lazy.”

“I worked for the city 32 years, and I worked my behind off. And every time I got a paycheck, I paid into this pension,” says Lovelady. “So my pension is earned."

Orr hasn’t apologized for the comments. His spokesman, Bill Nowling, has said they referred to Detroit’s “body politic,” not workers or residents.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Radio 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.
Related Content