Mar 11, 2011

Two-day wonders have more power than elected officials

Now that the smoke is slowing beginning to clear after the Senate Republican’s approval of the anti-union and anti-Democratic Emergency Financial Managers (EFM) package of bills on Wednesday, people are very surprised when they discover how much power this person, appointed by the State Treasurer with no oversight and with no confirmation process after a two-day training session, really has.

As we know from the massive protests by union supports staged in Lansing over the last week that the EFM has the ability to void, modify or renegotiate contracts, including contracts negotiated in good faith with employee unions, as well as with local business and vendors.

The EFM also has the ability to run the academic side of school districts, not just the financial side. In other words, A CPA, or even a financial services firm can tell the local school district what textbooks to buy or what courses to drop or add.

The EFM has the ability to order millage elections for any amount or for any length of time, even after the two-day wonder is long gone back to Lansing or wherever they came from. It has always been assumed that an elected official would be careful about raising taxes because he has to answer to voters. The EFM answers to nobody.

The EFM has the ability to disincorporate or dissolve the municipal government with the approval of the governor or recommend consolidation with another municipal government. In other words, and will use the City of Howell because that is where I live, he can completely dissolve the city and make it part of Howell Township again, which is in worse financial because of its over-extension of water and sewer districts that also has very few services.

The EFM has the ability to recommend to the governor that school district be reorganized. In other words, Brighton and Howell Schools can be consolidated on his say so. The only good news is Lansing has the final say, but least he is elected.

The EFM has the ability to close schools and buildings. If he thinks Parker High School is not being utilized enough or properly he can close it, or any other school building in Howell.

The bill requires competitive bidding of contracts $50,000 or more. That means privatization.

The bills eliminates the salary and benefits of the chief administrative officer and governing body members during a receivership, except as restored by the emergency manager. He can do anything he wants with City Manager Shea Charles’s salary and benefits. Why work for free? Its’ kind of ironic that the majority of Senate Republicans refused to limit the pay of the EFM to that of the highest paid state elected official in the state; the Governor at $172,000, but they want to limit the pay of the city manager.

The bill removes all powers from local governing body and chief administrative officer. That basically fires Mr. Charles and the people you voted for.

Exempts a local government in receivership from collective bargaining requirements for five years or until the receivership was terminated, whichever occurred first. That is called union busting, which is the main thrust of the bills.

The bill provide that, beginning 30 days after a local government entered into a consent agreement, it would not be subject to collective bargaining requirements during the remaining term of the agreement, unless the treasurer determined otherwise. AKA union-busting.

And what could bring an all-powerful EFM to Howell, Howell Public Schools or any other community or school district suffering because the Governor’s proposed budget cuts revenue sharing to the locals and cuts $420 per-pupil in public education funding? The answer is not much after the bills made it much easier to start the process after expanding the triggers. That would not be a bad idea for identifying potential trouble if not for the power it gives to the two-day wonders.

An EFM can be set in motion with a simple resolution adopted by either the House or Senate. In the era of term limits I can see this could be easily abused.

Other triggers include a written request from the local governing body or chief administrative officer. A written request from a creditor with an undisputed claim that remains unpaid 6 months after its due date against the local government that exceeds the greater of $10,000.00 or 1 percent of the annual general fund budget.

Or, simply failing to file an annual financial report on time.


Not Anonymous said...

You say the EFM has the ability to order millage elections but then say that the EFM answers to nobody, yet elected officials are careful about raising taxes.

If the EFM has the ability to order millage elections, he's putting it in the hands of the people. That's not being a dictator.

There currently is an EFM law. But nothing comes of it until after the city is already buried in red ink. The new law will try to catch them before they get there to get them back on track.

You complain that the EFM will have the ability to cancel union contracts. So? If there is no EFM and the city goes bankrupt or into receivership, the contracts would be cancelled anyway.

What's wrong with competitive bidding for contracts? That's not union busting. The unions are welcome to try to unionize in the private sector. They may or may not succeed, but when cities can take bids for work, they can go with the price they can afford to pay rather than having to pay exhorbitant costs (and overruns) dictated by the lack of competition.

I have no problem with an EFM lowering salaries of city officials if it comes to that, but I do agree that the EFM's pay should have been restricted.

I am not the least bit worried about what it does to schools. I've always said that the government schools are failing and they use these kids as guinea pigs for every little test they want to try. In addition, a report came out the other day that said that 82% of the government schools in this country are FAILING. Throwing money at the schools all of these years has failed.

You'd better get used to it. This country is going broke. We haven't spent ourselves into prosperity, we've spent our way to poverty. Services we've gotten used to are not affordable. It's time that the people started planning for their health and buying their own insurance rather than depending on the taxpayers to pay it for them because a union dictated it. It's time for people to start saving for their own retirements, through their banks, or 401k's or investment professionals rather than having taxpayer money, which is dwindling, pay their pensions for them.

We can either start solving the problems now, or we can continue and have nothing. We cannot print money freely without there being a price to pay.

It's time the people started taking personal responsibility and government being reduced to only the bare necessities.

Not Anonymous said...

I know that this isn't great for unions. But then unions haven't been great for all of the people. They've only been good for the union workers. But to call this union busting is just plain nuts.

First, union workers only make up 9% of the workforce in this nation. Second, if the unions are as important as they think they are, they must also revamp the way they do business. Show to the workers and the management that they have a value and start encouraging workers to join unions by providing them with whatever benefits they can afford, and keep the unions out of politics. They are nothing more than an arm of the Socialist Democrats. And they are using even the money they collect from those that don't agree with their politics.

You don't like Right to Work states, saying it eliminates unions. Well, it's no better if you have states that require unions. Telling someone that they don't have to be part of a union but still take their money is wrong. If you don't want to negotiate for those that choose to not join, then change your business practice and don't represent those that aren't in the union.

If it's wrong to force everyone out of a union, it's also wrong to force people into a union or to pay for a union that they don't want to be in.

This isn't union busting. Not here, not Wisconsin, not Ohio, not Idaho and not New York and not any other states (of which there will be many) that start doing this. It is about fiscal responsibility. It is about government being good stewards of the PEOPLE'S money.

No matter how much you whine otherwise.

Communications guru said...

I said the EFM has the ability to order millage elections because it’s a fact. Word games. Even elected officials cannot raise property taxes without a vote of the people. Only the State Constitution is holding them up. If they thought they could have gotten away with shredding that, they would have. If you don’t think elected officials are not accused of raising taxes just by putting it on the ballot, then you are living in a fantasy world, and I guess that’s why they have to vote to do so, especially considering elections cost money.

Yes, there currently is an EFM law, but this expansion of big government power is just unbelievable. Wrong, it makes it much easier to take over a city. If these triggers were only early warning signs to help a city or school districts help deal with a problem before it becomes a major problem that would be a good idea. The problem is it’s not. There are five EMS in Michigan now, but last month they “graduated” 65 EFMs, and next month they will push out 150. That says it all.

Dam right I complain that the EFM will have the ability to cancel union contracts because that’s what this is all about. Union contracts didn’t create the Bush recession, but they are the ones paying.

Normally there would be nothing wrong with competitive bidding for contracts, but instead of getting the best price for equipment and supplies it will be used to bust unions and privatize. Cheaper is not better.

You have no problem with an EFM lowering salaries of city officials?” Why does he have the power to do that? That is just ripe for abuse. That’s’ why most municipalities have independent citizen boards make a recommendation to the elected board for salary, and then the elected officials have to vote on it.

Of course you are not the least bit worried about what it does to schools because you believe only the rich should get an education. Its’ that public education that helped make this country the world’s only superpower.

Bullshit this country is going broke. GDP was $14.118 trillion in 2009, just down slightly from the record of $14.369 trillion in 2008.
The fact is all that wealth is going to just a few people. The top 1 percent of American earners took in 23.5 percent of the nation’s pretax income in 2007 — up from less than 9 percent in 1976.

Once again, anonymous coward, I am still waiting for you to back up your outrageous lie that we were “nearly shoulder to shoulder once.”

Communications guru said...

Wrong, unions haven’t been great for all of the people, with the possible exception of the super-rich. To say unions have not benefited all workers is just stupid and not based in fact, and yes this is union busting.

Stop playing dumb. I don’t know where you got your numbers, but I would venture a guess that public employees are unionized at a higher rate. Republicans have gone after industrial unions so hard that their numbers are rater small, and that’s why the middle class is disappearing. Now with private unions so weak, Republicans are going after public sector unions, especially ion Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan. Your also ego said he had no problem with private sector unions. That’s as hypocritical as you giving unions advice on how to “revamp the way they do business.” What bullshit.

If only 9 percent of workers are unionized, then why are you worrying about such a small number of people, and how can they have so much power?

Once again, there is no such thing as a Socialist Democrat, and unions support Democrats because they support the working class. As for who they give money to, the membership votes on who they endorse, unlike corporations. The truth is that’s why you support breaking unions because they don’t support Republicans because Republicans do not support the middle class.

Right to Work for less is designed to bust unions, nothing else. No states require unions. Again, you don’t have to be a member of a union, but you have to pay for the benefit you receive. It’s not fair that you get a free ride.

Again, no one is forcing people into a union. Typical Republican, you want something for nothing.

It is union busting, just more sneaker than in Wisconsin and Ohio. After the stunt the Senate Republicans in Wisconsin pulled on Wednesday there is no longer any doubt that it is all about busting the union.

Once again, anonymous coward, I am still waiting for you to back up your outrageous lie that we were “nearly shoulder to shoulder once.”

brad said...

WWWWWHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAA there cowgirl Commie guru, record GDP in 2008 under Bush? And then just under that in 2009? I thought there was a Bush recession blah blah blah its all his fault yet we still had record GDP?

Guru, you take everything and spin it anti anything Republican? Are there any poclicies any Republican person or group has done that you like? Also is there anyhting any liberal person or group has done that you dont like? I dont mean something small and stupid like putting up a park or a bowling alley in the white house. something substantial?

Communications guru said...

Are you denying there was no Bush recession?

Not Anonymous said...

There was a recession. Only socialist Democrats call it the "Bush" recession. If the Socialist Democrats were honest, they'd admit that when Bush took over it was the Clinton recession. After all, it wasn't on Bush's budget, it was Clinton's.

It's ironic the the recession is said to have started December of 2007. Just 11 months after the Democrats took over both Houses of Congress, but you blame Bush. Funny also that Bush predicted that this would happen if Fannie and Freddie weren't fixed in 2005. Three years later, it came true when Congress (Republican in 2005-2006) and Socialist Democrat (2007-2010) didn't do anything about the housing.

When Obama wanted the stimulus and health care, he said that the financial troubles in this country were caused by health care. When the recession first started, it was due to the housing bust. Then it was the oil spill and off shore drilling that was responsible for the ongoing recession. Now it's wall street. Pretty soon, the claim of "union busting" will be the reason the economy is so bad.

You Socialist Democrats blame everyone (Republicans) from Housing, to health care, to wall street, but never stop to think or even dare to admit that the cause could be the quadrupling of the deficit (under Obama) and the doubling of the debt (Obama again).

If a kid is dragging a rotten tomato on a string across the kitchen floor, the Conservative would say "PIck that up and throw it in the trash". But a socialist Democrat would say "What are you doing?" and when the kid says "I don't know", the socialist Democrat will then put the kid into five years of therapy, claiming the kid is pleading insanity, to figure out why a little kid would even think of dragging a rotten tomato on a string across the kitchen floor. .

Communications guru said...

First, as you know there is no such thing as a “socialist Democrat,” and that is just a false Republican smear.

Wow, talk about trying to re-write history. Really? You’re trying to blame Clinton, who left Bush a surplus he squandered on a useless war. As much as you and Bush refuse to take any responsibility for anything, it’s the Bush recession; the longest and deepest since the Great Depression.

We were headed to the Bush recession for some time, and that’s because of his policies; especially his indifference to manufactures, his unnecessary war, his tax cuts for the rich, the lack of regulation and oversight and many more.

Financial troubles in this country were caused by health care; it’s the number one cause of personal bankruptcy. The oil spill? The oil spill occurred in 2010, and the Great Bush Recession ended in 2009.
Again, there is no such thing as a “socialist Democrat,” and that is just a false Republican smear. Of course Bush can’t be blamed for anything.

That analogy is the stupidest thing I have ever heard from you, and that is saying a lot.

Once again, anonymous coward, I am still waiting for you to back up your outrageous lie that we were “nearly shoulder to shoulder once.”

Not Anonymous said...

First, yes there is such a thing as a socialist Democrat. Our Congress and the White House is filled with them. You can deny what you are all you like, but it doesn't change the fact that you, and most all of those listed as Democrats in the House and Senate are Socialist Democrats.

Rewrite history? I don't think so. If you look at what I said, I said if you were "honest" you'd have to agree that the recession in 2001 was Clintons. He didn't leave Bush a surplus. He left Bush a budget surplus, but that's the Congress, not Clinton. Clinton just signed off on it. But leaving a surplus. No. He left the largest debt in history. On the other hand, Bush broke that record by leaving an even larger one, and Obama has put that record on the fast track and added more than anyone.

You have to be a fool to believe that Bush chased manufacturing out What ruined manufacturing and other businesses, is the second highest business tax in the world.

As we've seen this past holiday season, there weren't tax cuts just for the rich. They were tax cuts for everyone. However, you comment about tax cuts for the rich prove your socialist Democrat breeding. Take from those that have and give to those that don't.

Well of course you didn't like the analogy. It wasn't in your favor.

You have this habit of telling people what others think and ignoring your own position. Now I realize that it's hard to defend your position because it's wrong and it's unwanted in this country. But you haven't a clue why I think what I think. You don't know me, you don't know my experiences, my background or my education.

When Governor Walker says he's doing what he's doing to balance the budget, save jobs, and put the state on sound financial footing, I take him at his word until he's proven wrong.

The really fun thing lately is the Socialist Democrats calling the Republicans cowards for passing the bill in a sneaky fashion, behind closed doors. Let's think about that for a second. The past three week, the Socialist Democrats in Wisconsin were the ones showing their butts and not their faces as they headed to the sanctuary state of Illinois. They refused to go to work because they were outnumbered. Now, I could understand if it was the old west, they were outnumbered by indians and arrows were being fired at them. But this was policy. This was taking one of 47 failing states and trying to find a new way to put them on sound footing. If it Walker's plan doesn't work, they'll have to find another way. But since the unions have been dictating what workers get paid, and what taxpayers must pay for those workers in benefits, the states have been dropping.

But fear not. Politicians are cowards and impatient. If it doesn't turn around quickly, they'll start saying that they need to raise taxes to keep themselves afloat while the people suffer and be forced to suffer more. Then you'll have what you seem to want. More taxes.

However, as Christie has proven in NJ the tough decisions were made and they started working less than a year into his term and his popularity is on the rise. I suspect the same will happen in Wisconsin. We'll see if Snyder has what it takes to make the reforms to fix Michigan.

YOu're still worried about us being at the same event? Sheesh. Get over yourself.

Communications guru said...

First, no there is no such a thing as a socialist Democrat; as I have said; that is just a Republican smear. I am a liberal Democrat.

Exactly, trying to re-write history; like trying to deny that Bush squandered a budget surplus and turned it into a record deficit.

Really? Bush didn’t chased manufacturing out? Under Bush, two of the Big 3 are near bankruptcy; under Obama, they are turning a profit. Maybe if Bush just agreed to simply meet with auto executives.

The difference is tax cuts for the middle class go directly into the economy, but tax cuts for the rich do not. With the ever growing concentration of wealth in just a few families and record profits for corporations, you have to wonder how many more breaks they need.

The analogy was stupid and did not make any sense.

If it’s so hard for me to defend my position then why do you have such a hard and futile time shaking it? I got news for you, as the polls regarding the theft of collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin show, people support Democratic and liberal policies, but the constant lies and attack from the right have somehow made the word liberal a bad word.

I don’t care about your experiences, background or lack education. You are the coward who chooses to launch personal attacks behind an anonymous name; I attach my name to every word I write. I’m commenting on the BS you post.

Yes, Walker says he's doing what he's doing to balance the budget, but as his actions have proven, he is lying. His goal is to bust the unions; nothing more, nothing less.

Again, there is no such thing as Socialist Democrats, and that’s’ exactly what the cowardly Republicans did. In fact, they violated the Open Meetings Act in the process.

Yes, let's think about that for a second. First, there is no such thing as Socialist Democrats. Second, Senate Democrats are fighting against the theft of civil rights with every weapon at their disposal; including denying a quorum, like great men before them have, such as Abraham Lincoln from the very same state of Illinois. Unions have never dictated what workers get paid. They sit across the table and negotiate the best wage they can get, and then they go back and their members then vote on the contract.

Christie is nothing more than a bully.

I’m not worried about being at the same event because it's simply not true; Remember, you are the cowardly pussy hiding behind an anonymous name, not me. It just shows what a liar you really are.

Once again, anonymous wimp, I am still waiting for you to back up your outrageous lie that we were “nearly shoulder to shoulder once.”

brad said...

First, there are Democratic Socialists not Democrat Socialists, I guess Commie Guru is correct on that point, as discussed in other posts.

Second if the Commie Guru doesnt rip the Obama Admin to Shreds on its Czars, then he cant rip Snyder on this whole EMP EFT EMT whatever in Michigan because its the same damn thing.

The commie guru is prob one of the fatest hypocrites in the state of Michigan after Michael Moore.

Communications guru said...

Like I said, Obama nor Bush’s “czars had this kind of power, and I can only think of one form of government with that kind of power.

Again, thank you for the compliment, and especially for comparing me to Michael Moore, if you are referring to me.

brad said...

Again I respond, who closed all those GM and Chrysler dealerships and removed Saturn and Hummer brands? Obama's 31 year old car "szar". Thanks for playing.