Feb 14, 2011
Bills will make state-appointed emergency financial managers virtual dictators
The next time you hear the Republicans talking about how they want less government and prefer local control, don’t buy it.
Michigan House Republicans are debating legislation they introduced last month that could lead to earlier intervention by the state in financially troubled communities school districts and almost dictatorial like powers for state-appointed emergency financial managers.
Rep. Al Pscholka, R, Stevensville, sponsored House Bills 4214-4218. The EFM law already takes the power and authority out of the hands of the people legally elected by the voters and places it in the hands of a person appointed by the governor ad the Legislature.
The new package of bills repeals the current law governing emergency financial managers, Public Act 72. The new proposal will make it easier to appoint an emergency financial manager with several more triggers that allow the state to review local finances, including missed paydays, a creditor with an undisputed claim or simply a resolution from a simple majority in the Michigan Legislature.
The bill also gives the financial manager much more broader powers, and that may be the reason it is so popular with Republicans; it allows the manger to terminate contracts negotiated with labor unions in good faith. It also gives emergency financial managers the ability to appoint people to committees and exclude elected officials from city business.
It also allows them to make academic decisions in the case of school districts taken over by the state.
Currently, only the Detroit Public Schools and the cities of Benton Harbor, Ecorse and Pontiac have emergency financial managers in place, but with the constant reductions of revenue sharing to municipalities and the lower threshold there will be more.
It appears Gov. Rick Snyder wants to trash the constitution and be a dictator. There is a huge push in Lansing, as well as nationwide, to bust public sector unions, and this is just one more attempt.
The bills are currently in the House Local, Intergovernmental and Regional Affairs Committee, and they are up for a hearing on both Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 15 and 16. The committee meets at 2 p.m. in room 519 in the House Office Building, 121 N. Capitol on both days, and the meetings are open to the public.