I wrote recently how a recent audit of Benton Harbor’s finances revealed that they not only are not out of debt, they still have a sizable deficit. Michigan Citizen has more on this with interesting commentary from Detroit accountant Greg Frazier. What Frazier says suggests that Joe Harris, so-called savior of Benton Harbor, is actually a crappy accountant.
Here’s the agenda of the meetings (unless Brown modifies it):
- Call to Order by the Council President
- Roll Call by the City Clerk
- Pledge of Allegiance
- Presentation of Minutes
- Report by the Emergency Manager and/or his designee(s)
- Council Questions and Answers
- Closing Comments by the Emergency Manager
- Public Comment
In other words, Brown is allowing the Council members to open the meeting, ask questions and adjourn the meeting. Not too different from what Benton Harbor Emergency Manager Joe Harris did when he issued an order allowing City Commissioners to (1) call the meeting to order, (2) approve meeting minutes, and (3) adjourn the meeting.…
It’s not often that I’m scooped in the blogosphere on news about Michigan’s Emergency Managers but, if I’m going to get scooped, I’d rather have it be by Laura Conaway at The Maddow Blog than anyone else. Today she reports that Benton Harbor Emergency Manager Joe Harris removed Marcus Muhammad as Mayor Pro Tem and replaced him with Sharon Henderson. His order is HERE (pdf).
Screenshot courtesy of The Maddow Blog
Conaway talks about why he did this and how freaking weird it is.
Generally speaking, the political writing I do is catharsis for me. It helps me to deal with the things that upset me in the realm of politics and government. But, every once in awhile, I write something that actually makes me more upset. My most recent piece for A2Politico is one of them.
The piece is titled Whirlpool Corp — A Michigan Job Creation “Success Story”: Dodging Taxes & Profiting from Poverty. In the article, I talk about how Whirlpool has been largely responsible for the traumatic decline of Benton Harbor and has spent (at least) the last decade profiting handsomely from it.…
Benton Harbor Emergency Manager Joe Harris shuttered the city’s only radio station this week, citing “efficient use of the city’s resources”.
The low-power FM radio station WBHC-LP 96.5, which is broadcast out of City Hall, shut down Jan. 1. [...]
[Commissioner Juanita Henry] Henry said Wednesday night the radio station, which played music and had programs hosted by Commissioners Muhammad, Henry and Dennis Knowles, was not a burden on the city’s budget, but had its own funding.
The radio station gave the Benton Harbor residents what they always ask for – a communication link between citizens and city officials, Henry said.
Joe Harris has been on the job as Emergency Manager in Benton Harbor for over a year and a half now. However, a recent report indicates the success he is credited for at “turning Benton Harbor around” may not be based in fact. Michigan Radio has this important story.
The audit shows Benton Harbor Emergency Manager Joe Harris cut the yearly operating deficit by about $126,000 from when elected city leaders were governing.
A couple of weeks ago, Michigan Radio reported that Benton Harbor mayor-elect James Hightower held an informational meeting for City Commissioners and Benton Harbor City department heads to prepare for the departure of Emergency Manager Joe Harris. A further story today suggests that Hightower and the newly elected commissioners are taking the return of their city to democratic rule very seriously and are intent on ensuring that Benton Harbor doesn’t follow the same path as other Michigan cities that once had Emergency Managers. As I reported last week, all three cities that once had EMs are again in financial trouble; Flint, Hamtramck , and Highland Park.…
One of the main points I have raised repeatedly since the passage of Michigan’s Emergency Manager law, Public Act 4, is that the imposition of an Emergency Manager (EM) does little, if anything, to solve the underlying problems that bring municipalities and school districts to the crisis point where an EM is deemed necessary.
With Joe Harris set to depart Benton Harbor sometime in the first few months of 2012, for example, what has he done that will prevent that town from simply returning to the same place it was when he entered the scene? The answer is, of course, little to nothing.…
Eclectablog “Addendum” at the New York Times blog – comments to Jonathan Mahler re: Emergency Managers
As I wrote about last week, Jonathan Mahler published an excellent piece on Benton Harbor in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine titled “Now That the Factories Are Closed, It’s Tee Time in Benton Harbor, Mich.” My review is HERE.
After it was published, I sent Mahler an email, putting the Emergency Manager law, Public Act 4 into some perspective as it relates to the history and current situation in Benton Harbor. I was gratified when he published my letter on the New York Times Magazine blog, The 6th Floor Blog. Here is his intro. Click through for my letter.…
Flint’s Emergency Mgr rewards Mayor & City Council for good behavior, Benton Harbor teachers take cuts
It’s probably a crass way of looking at it, but I can’t see THIS as anything more than the Mayor of Flint and the City Council being rewarded for their obedience.
One of the first things Michael Brown did after the governor appointed him was to eliminate the pay and benefits for Mayor Dayne Walling and the entire Flint city council. He also canceled future city council meetings.
This week, Brown reinstated 60 percent of the mayor’s salary, as well as his full benefits. Mayor Walling will also get some of his powers restored, including his role in economic development, master planning, intergovernmental affairs, and community engagement.
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