Mayor Mike Duggan was where he wants to be: In the driver's seat, taking over more and more responsibility from Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.
On Tuesday, Orr handed over the responsibility of running the Detroit’s Water and Sewerage Department, and Duggan responded by saying he may extend the 15-day pause in the shutoffs to customers who haven't paid their bills, reports Matt Helms and Joe Guillen of the Detrot Free Press.
“It’s hurt the reputation of the city, the way it’s been handled,” Duggan said. Last week, in the midst of all the commotion, the city announced a 15-day pause in shutoffs.
The Freep writes that Duggan has said he would have handled the crackdown on delinquent customers differently, with more advance warning, more outreach and a gathering of more resources for poor customers before instituting a citywide program of shutoffs.
Duggan said he wants to give residents more time while he sets up a system to give them an opportunity to get help and make arrangements to keep the water flowing.
“I do think there’s going to need to be more time, but we’re going to work that out,” Duggan told reporters.
“We’ve got to do a much better job of supporting those who are trying to do the right thing in making those payment arrangements,” he said in a statement on his Facebook page, according to the Freep.
“We will be developing a plan that allows those who are truly needy to access financial help and allows those who want to make payment arrangements to do so with shorter wait times. As for those who can pay and choose not to, we won’t force other Detroiters to pay their bills.”