- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 6, 2015

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - One of two men appointed by Republican Gov. Chris Christie to help turn around the city’s troubled finances was paid about $70,000 for just over three months of work.

The state attorney general’s office told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Kevyn Orr, who returned last week to his private-sector law firm Jones Day, was paid $950 an hour. But if his bills were paid quickly under a law called the New Jersey Prompt Payment Act, a 25 percent discount would occur and the hourly rate would be $712.

The office did not provide a breakdown of Orr’s billing. Under a letter dated March 3 and released Wednesday by the state, Orr was limited to billing 16 hours a week. He also was allowed to bill for travel and photocopying but not meals.

Orr didn’t immediately respond Wednesday to a request for comment.

The state also revealed it’s paying mediator Donald Steckroth $425 an hour, which it said is considerably less than his customary rate.

Orr helped shepherd Detroit through its municipal bankruptcy and assisted Atlantic City emergency manager Kevin Lavin, whose annual salary is $135,000. The city’s mayor, Don Guardian, for comparison, makes $103,000 a year.

Christie appointed both men on Jan. 22 to help control the crumbling finances in Atlantic City, where several casinos have closed recently.

Steckroth is to negotiate cost savings with unions and other stakeholders in Atlantic City.

A preliminary report from Lavin called for spending cuts and layoffs but did not call for a municipal bankruptcy filing. Wall Street ratings agencies have said they don’t expect a bankruptcy filing in the near term but are concerned one could still happen if short-term measures to cut the city’s budget and workforce don’t succeed.

The city is cutting $40 million from its budget over the next three years and is eliminating hundreds of jobs this year.

Atlantic City lost four of its 12 casinos last year, and three others are in bankruptcy. The governor said the city’s 40,000 residents are struggling to pay taxes needed to support its $260 million budget and the local tax rate has doubled since 2010.

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Wayne Parry can be reached at https://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

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