Emergency Manager Law, Emergency Managers — December 6, 2011 at 11:29 am

Flint’s new Emergency Manager starts off by violating the city charter, fires staffers, mayor & City Council


Buried in the lede of the news about Flint Emergency Manager Michael Brown firing seven staffers and essentially firing the the Mayor and City Council, as well, is this little tidbit:

In his first orders as emergency manager, Michael Brown on Friday fired seven City Hall staffers — including the mayor’s second-in-command — and eliminated pay and benefits for the mayor and Flint City Council. […]

Although the roles of the city ombudsman and Civil Service Commission are mandated by the Flint City Charter, Brown’s order removing Purifoy and Parker cited state law that says an emergency manager can remove any local government appointee.

In other words, his first act as Emergency Manager violated the City Charter. But, hey, that’s okay. ‘Cause he’s allowed to do that. In the worldview of those that support the use of undemocratic, disenfranchising Emergency Managers, it’s completely acceptable to take away representative government from poor people and to break the laws of their city as long as the governor appoints you as the Czar Chancellor Emergency Manager.

In the first paragraph, I said that he was “essentially firing the Mayor and City Council”. This is 100% true. He cancelled all future City Council meetings until further notice, eliminated their benefits and stopped paying them. That’s firing the city government, no matter how you slice it.

  • Northville

    Sounds like Flint has a King now. 

  • Jnlaf2001

    welcome to the USSRmichigan….this.I did *yrs in the service to have my vote made useless

  • Artorian11

    Sounds like a take over.

    • Maestra27

      There’s already a method in place to deal with ineffective politicians . . . it’s called RECALL.  We don’t need a dictatorship.

    • Jklbot

      You say that now.  Wait until they take away your vote and the city government you voted for.  You’ll realize what they’re doing then.

  • dtscherzer

    Wait… isn’t the Emergency Manager supposed to assume his position In AN EMERGENCY! ?!??

    • aielman

      A city about to go into bankruptcy is an emergency.

  • Sugar

    It is no longer a democracy when elected officials are replaced by one appointed person. Flint’s mess does not justify a take over. How would citizens of this country feel if the President decided to appoint “managers” to replace elected governors and senators?

    • aielman

      Unless of course that appointed person was appointed by an elected person.

      The President wouldn’t appoint either directly. Wrong chain of command. In this case the State has preemptive powers over the municipality…making the Governor the top of the chain of command.

      And in an emergency, the Congress would appoint someone to replace a governor. SCoTUS would replace a senator…which would give you an appointed person replacing an elected one.

  • KBDevo1962

    Oh Boy A REAL Sharif of Nottingham !  Now all we Need is Robin Hood !   For the Whole State ! 

  • aielman

    If you don’t like the law, get rid of the guys who enacted it, put someone in that shares your views, and change the law.

    Your state elected that Governor and those State representatives. It most certainly, based on that fact, is part of the democratic process. An elected official, duly empowered by the electorate, and backed by the precedent of preemption, is exercising powers granted by a law conceived by elected officials and made law by another elected official.

    Now you can debate the merits of the law, the outcome of the actions of the EM, and the ham fisted procedure. You can call the whole process politicized and debate the wisdom of using private companies to replace public workers. They’re all valid arguments, and based on the merits of your position, might very well be good arguments. E has certainly made several in this regard.

    But this whining about it being undemocratic is just wrong. An elected official put this in motion…an official YOUR state elected. It’s most certainly democratic.

    • Cork

      Twist it anyway you like aielman.  The fact is that the people who voted in OUR governor may not be the same people who voted in their own municipal government, therefor taking away their democratic process without their approval.  You sound as if you’re not even a Michigan resident so stay out of OUR discussions

      • aielman

        There’s nothing to twist. You’re in an effort to recall the governor. So do so. Then change the law.

        State preemption of municipal law and elected officers, especially in matters of finance, is completely legal and common practice in all 50 states. It’s been reviewed by SCoTUS in other cases and found to be constitutional.

        You can complain about it all you like, but this is how the democracy we live in works ,and has worked since its inception.