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Michigan Law: Emergency Powers

 
 
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 08:56 pm
Any truth in this?

http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/562405/emergency_financial_manger_fires_entire_government_of_benton_harbor,_mi/

Emergency Financial Manger Fires Entire Government of Benton Harbor, MI

As you probably know, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder recently signed legislation passed by the Republican-dominated House and Senate that gives State-appointed Emergency Financial Managers (EFMs) historically broad and sweeping powers. These new powers allow the EFM to cancel or modify contracts (including with unions) and even to fire the municipality's government.

Today, for the first time, a EFM did just that. According to a press release from the Michigan AFL-CIO, Joseph L. Harris, EFM for Benton Harbor, Michigan issued "an order prohibiting all action by all city boards, commissions, authorities and other entities, except as authorized by the emergency manager."




Here is the press release in total:

Benton Harbor Emergency Manager Takes First Step to Strip Away Rights

Joseph L. Harris issues an order prohibiting all action by all city boards, commissions, authorities and other entities, except as authorized by the emergency manager

CONTACT: Jesse Sipe 517-515-3242

In the wake of a bill that was signed into law with high objection from the people, as it was a bill that threatened local communities, schools, townships, and municipalities, the first order has been officially issued in Benton Harbor. Joseph L. Harris has used his emergency manager powers to “exercise any power or authority of any office, employee, department, board, commission, or similar entity of the City, whether elected or appointed.” In addition, the Emergency Manager has the power to supersede any officer or entity and the power to act on behalf of the city.

“This is sad news for democracy in Michigan. It comes after the announcement of Robert Bobb in Detroit ordering layoff of every single public school teacher in the Detroit Public School system,” says Mark Gaffney, President of Michigan AFL-CIO. “With the stripping of all power of duly elected officials in Benton harbor and the attack on Detroit school teachers, we can now see the true nature of the Emergency Manager system.”

This is a real life instance of taking away our fundamental rights. In fact, the only thing City Boards, Commissions, Authorities or other entities may do without the approval of an Emergency Manager is to:

1) Call a meeting to order

2) Approve of meeting minutes

3) Adjourn a meeting

Everything else is under the Emergency Manager’s control. These new powers are taking away the will and voice of the people by stripping away the rights of public officials elected by Michiganders. By exploiting the current crisis situation, these emergency managers are able to ascertain unreasonable rules to completely control a city. This is a true case of political over-reach, and will simply add to the hardships of an already suffering populace in Michigan.


###

Harris's order can be viewed HERE (pdf).

This is a complete disenfranchisement of an entire community, an entire large city in my state. The voters are now denied the ability to be governed by the people they elected in a democratic election.

This is nothing short of an abridgment of democracy in raw form.

I will have more as this develops. I can only assume a lawsuit will be forthcoming. The news is so fresh it has not yet hit the major news outlets.

I'm just sayin'...

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Type: Discussion • Score: 9 • Views: 3,854 • Replies: 42
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dadpad
 
  0  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 08:59 pm
Quote:
ordering layoff of every single public school teacher in the Detroit Public School system,”

That doesnt sound like a sensible thing to do. Perhaps the EFM is doing the right thing.
It seems sensible to me to have a failsafe for when local government is irresponsible.
JTT
 
  0  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 09:48 pm
@dadpad,
Quote:
It seems sensible to me to have a failsafe for when local government is irresponsible.


It's called elections, DP, or recalls. If the irresponsibility is flagrant, there is prosecution.
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2011 09:48 pm
Here's an article with more details of what's going on:

http://www.detnews.com/article/20110416/POLITICS02/104160351/1024/POLITICS03/Emergency-manager-cuts-roles-of-Benton-Harbor-officials

0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Apr, 2011 12:25 am
Quote:
It's called elections, DP, or recalls. If the irresponsibility is flagrant, there is prosecution.

I agree but first the transgressors must be removed from office. Who calls, organises and oversees the elections?

You actually count all the votes in elections now? How....unusual... for The US
dadpad
 
  0  
Reply Mon 18 Apr, 2011 12:28 am
@dadpad,
Benton Harbor has struggled with a controversial trash hauling contract, lawsuits related to the contract, new competition for water services and city officials who sometimes clashed to the point that meetings dragged on for hours, Joseph said.

"I have seen for more than 30 years the mismanagement of funds and personnel in the city," Joseph said. "Infighting has been going on for decades.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20110416/POLITICS02/104160351/Emergency-manager-cuts-roles-of-Benton-Harbor-officials#ixzz1JqyyyON6

If that is the case then electors have only themsleves to blame.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  0  
Reply Mon 18 Apr, 2011 12:35 pm
I expected this story to get lots of attention. Go finger.
Butrflynet
 
  2  
Reply Mon 18 Apr, 2011 08:04 pm
@edgarblythe,
Rachel Maddow did a segment on it tonight.
edgarblythe
 
  0  
Reply Tue 19 Apr, 2011 04:59 pm
the future of Benton Harbor as a city is rapidly fading as Harris helps to make way for a new multi-million dollar public/private golf and residential redevelopment project - a project pushed by the Whirlpool company since the 1980s. Whirlpool's corporate offices are in Benton Harbor.

The new development would start in St. Joesph and then reach over the river into Benton Harbor. As the development stretched further into Benton Harbor it would swallow up Jean Klock Park, one of the only points of pride in this small town with a per-capita income of little over $10000.

With a financial Manager in charge of the city, Benton Harbor's elected officials are completely powerless to do anything to try and save their town. Harris was also formerly on the board of directors for the group overseeing the redevelopment project until recently.

The emergency manager law was sponsored by Al Pishelka, a former staffer for local congressman Fred Uptown - heir to the Whirlpool fortune and former vice president of one of the groups involved in the redevelopment project.

The future of Benton Harbor seems bleak, as the town is soon to be replaced by a luxury golf neighborhood few of the current residents can hope to afford.

JTT
 
  0  
Reply Tue 19 Apr, 2011 06:31 pm
@edgarblythe,
Are you relating an episode from The Simpsons, Edgar?
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Apr, 2011 07:54 pm
FYI, Rachel devoted a large portion of tonight's show to this event in Michigan as well as other similar efforts in many other states that are also going unnoticed.
edgarblythe
 
  0  
Reply Tue 19 Apr, 2011 07:55 pm
@Butrflynet,
Butrflynet wrote:

Rachel Maddow did a segment on it tonight.

Her discussion seems to jive with the post I added after you posted:

Benton Harbor's emergency manager problems getting some national attention this week. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show on Monday featured a segment on how Michigan's new EFM law affects smaller communities, and laid out one version of the saga of Benton Harbor, Whirlpool, Harbor Shores, and Al Pscholka. As Maddow saw it, the appointment of an emergency manager and loss of all local political power could very well be viewed as a land grab:

0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  0  
Reply Tue 19 Apr, 2011 07:58 pm
@Butrflynet,
I don't understand why it is legal to oust legally elected governments. I am minded of people insisting the Palestinians elect a democratic government and when they did, the same people were outraged at their choices. Why doesn't the will of the voters count?
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Apr, 2011 08:32 pm
I've been trying to follow this story, I'm glad we have a thread. This kind of slipped in while everyone was paying attention to WI. This stuff is seriously messed up.

A
R
T
edgarblythe
 
  0  
Reply Tue 19 Apr, 2011 08:33 pm
@failures art,
To me, it's cause for big outrage, but the public seems to be letting it slip by them.
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Apr, 2011 08:36 pm
@edgarblythe,
I have been posting stuff on FB as I come across it, and I think a lot of people are shocked ti exists. Most have no idea.

A
R
T
edgarblythe
 
  0  
Reply Tue 19 Apr, 2011 08:41 pm
@failures art,
I have seen facebook. The headline there makes prominent use of the word "black." I don't see it as racial, so much as big dog takes small dog's bone away.
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Apr, 2011 09:02 pm
Here are video segments on Rachel's show about it:

Michigan revokes town's local representation
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#42654363

Kansas GOP complicates voter registration
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#42654244

Michigan governor sets new standard in overreaching
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#42654161

Republicans quick to ignore "small government" promise
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#42672552

Eye on elections, Republicans tilt playing field
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#42672623

Do Democrats have a defense for GOP attacks?
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#42672709

0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Apr, 2011 09:08 pm
She was talking about the new powers the Michigan governor gave himself back in mid March:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53BkWfyb9n0
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Apr, 2011 09:09 pm
@edgarblythe,
I think race does factor in. Golf resorts can go almost anywhere, but in closing a government of a city and taking over completely, it's going to be easier to do if people care less about who it's happening to.

A
R
T
 

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