A mediator has been picked to guide Detroit and its creditors through the city's Chapter 9 bankruptcy case.
U.S. Chief District Judge Gerald Rosen has the job.
His selection was announced Tuesday by Judge Steven Rhodes, the bankruptcy judge that is overseeing the city’s case.
The order from Rhodes says "proceedings, discussions, negotiation and writings" from mediation will be confidential.
READ: Mediation order
Rhodes has said he hopes to have the city file a reorganization plan by March 1, 2014. But a city attorney says his team is working to have the plan in place by Dec. 31.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed off on Detroit's bankruptcy on July 18, calling it the only "feasible path" for a city whose population has plummeted to 700,000 from 1.8 million decades ago. Detroit has $18 billion in long-term debt.
In March, Snyder appointed a bankruptcy expert, Kevyn Orr, as Detroit's emergency manager. Orr had sweeping powers to reshape city finances but recommended bankruptcy to the governor after failing to reach any significant deals with creditors, including Wall Street bankers and Detroit pension funds. Many of those creditors, however, accused him of being inflexible and believe bankruptcy always was the plan.
Detroit has more than double the population of Stockton, Calif., which had been the largest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy before Detroit trumped it last week.
--Picture courtesy of The Detroit Legal News
Statement from Judge Gerald Rosen:
" In accepting this mediation assignment, my objective is to bring the parties together in a neutral forum, away from the glare of the spotlight, to discuss the many challenging issues facing them with the purpose of resolving as many of their disputes as possible. I will immediately assemble a small team of highly experienced facilitative mediators from the public and private sector who have had a history of success in bringing parties together to resolve difficult, complex, and contentious cases. I look forward with optimism and enthusiasm to working with this team and the parties toward this goal."
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