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Politics & Government

Duggan looks for smooth transition in Detroit

Sarah Cwiek
Michigan Radio

Detroit’s next mayor says he’s making plans to hit the ground running—but it’s unclear what powers he’ll have to implement them.

Mike Duggan named former Detroit State Representative Lisa Howze and former Detroit Police Chief Ike McKinnon to co-chair his transition team Wednesday.

They’re looking for volunteers with expertise in various parts of city government to fill out the team.

Duggan says this team will come up with an operational plan—but whether he can implement it is another matter.

“We’re going to come out with what we believe is the roadmap,” Duggan said. “What I am or am not allowed to actually operate, we’re going to find out.

“The best that I can do is say, ‘Here’s my vision for how a city should be run.' And out of this seven weeks ought to be the vision that says here’s how the city ought to be run, and then it’ll be up to the Governor and the emergency manager whether I’m allowed to do it.”

During the mayoral campaign, Duggan said he would try to assemble a turnaround team and plan so impressive it would convince Governor Snyder to remove Detroit’s emergency manager, Kevyn Orr.

But Duggan appeared to scale back expectations as he actually faced the task of maneuvering through a city hall where he’ll have little hard power for nearly a year.

Duggan and Orr aren’t strangers—both graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1983. But Duggan said he hadn’t seen Orr “for 30 years” until the two met up in recent days.

Duggan said he and Orr have “had good conversations to start,” but still need to figure out their working relationship.  

Orr must approve Duggan’s proposed transition budget, and the contours of his administration remain unclear as the two hash out the details of budget and personnel decisions in the coming weeks.

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