Emergency Manager Law, Emergency Managers, Flint — September 19, 2016 at 1:05 pm

Still under state control, Flint doesn’t have an Emergency Manager but it might as well have


Back in March of this year, the city of Flint announced that it intended to file a lawsuit against the state of Michigan in the Court of Claims over the poisoning of the city’s drinking water with the powerful neurotoxin lead. There were no immediate plans to do so but they needed to be on record so that option remained open.

This past week, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver made it known that they did, in fact, plan to file the lawsuit. That’s when Shortly after that, the Receivership Transition Advisory Board, the oversight board that is still the de facto government there, sprang into action and changed to rules to prevent Flint from moving forward with the suit, a move that only became public this week.:

Days after Flint Mayor Karen Weaver served notice that her city might file a lawsuit against the State of Michigan over the Flint drinking water crisis, the state removed Flint’s ability to sue.

Though Flint has not been under a state-appointed emergency manager since April 2015, the state still exerts partial control over the city through a five-member Receivership Transition Advisory Board, whose members are appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

The board moved quickly to change the rules under which Flint is governed so that the city cannot file a lawsuit without first getting approval from that state-appointed board.

In other words, Flint cannot sue the state without getting the state to sign off on it first.

That’s how democracy works in Michigan if you don’t toe the line established by our patriarchal Republican “leaders”. Make no mistake, the state may be moving away from Emergency Managers – they’re now called school Chief Operating Officers in some places – but Emergency Management is alive and well all the same. When local governments and school districts are not allowed to make their own decisions, democracy has been revoked in favor of a state takeover.

It may be technically legal but it sure isn’t “American” in spirit.

  • bryan

    “The board moved quickly to change the rules…”
    This, more than anything else, epitomizes the Republican style of governing.

  • bryan

    I tried, without success, to find the names of the 5 Snyder appointees on the RTAB. Who are they?

    • Char Rochfort

      Here are the five names and a link to the source: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/treasury/Resolution_2016-2-Amends_Order_No._2-3-16-16_517487_7.pdf Approved pursuant to the Governor’s April 29,2015, letter appointing the Receivership Transition Advisory Board for the City of Flint. N.A. Khouri. State Treasurer Date: 3/16/16 Lansing, Michigan…RECEIVERSHIP TRANSITION ADVISORY BOARD FOR THE CITY OF FLINT RESOLUTION 2016-2 AMENDING EMERGENCY MANAGER AMBROSE ORDER No.2
      Signed by Frederick Headen, Chairperson, Joel Ferguson, Board Member, Michael A, Finney, Board Member, Michael A. Townsend, Board Member and N.A. Khouri, State Treasurer.

      • bryan

        Thanks, I did find the names after a google “RTAB FLINT” search pointed me to the Dept of Treasury – Flint page.

        RTAB Members:
        Frederick Headen of Haslett, Apr 29, 2015
        Michael A. Townsend of Flint, January 21, 2016 (replaced Brian Larkin of Flint, Apr 29, 2015)
        Joel Ferguson. February 17, 2016 (replaces David McGhee of Flint, Apr 29, 2015)
        Beverly Walker-Griffea of Flint, Apr 29, 2015
        Michael A. Finney of Plymouth, January 19, 2016 (replaces Robert McMahan of Flint, Apr 29, 2015)


  • judyms9

    Perhaps Flint can sue individuals rather than the State as an entity, or individual Flint citizens can sue if they can demonstrate sufficient damages. I once lived in a town where residents suffered sewer backup damage because the storm pump had not been adequately maintained and they received a settlement.
    The quick action by the board was probably to avoid “discovery” of evidence by Flint’s attorney.
    It appears Schuette has been doing what he can to make sure he’s not a party to any of these actions.

  • lochberg

    This is 1984.

  • Has Rachel Maddow heard of this yet?

    • Good question. I should probably tweet it at them.

      • I sent them your link in an email last night (h/t to you) but you’re the one they know. But please tweet away. I will. <8-)

        • I did! When you tweet, be sure to include @MaddowBlog. The producer (and friend) who has been our biggest ally in this also monitors that twitter feed.