As the water crisis has unfolded in Flint over the past few months, there has been an enormous amount of finger pointing and blame shifting going around. Just this week, Darnell Earley wrote an op-ed piece for The Detroit News absolving himself of any of that blame, despite the fact that he or one of his predecessors was in charge when the decision to switch the City of Flint from Lake Huron water via the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) to the Flint River. In fact, the decision to move to Flint River water despite an offer by the DWSD to remain on their system was made by Earley himself.…
UPDATED: Flint Mayor Dayne Walling talks about Flint’s water crisis, Emergency Managers, and the State government
The colossal failure and scandal of the Snyder administration in preventing the lead poisoning of Flint residents
In April of 2014, under the direction of Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley, the City changed the source of its drinking water from the Detroit water system (drawing from Lake Huron) to the Flint River. The move was touted as a cost-saving measure which would save $7 million annually. However, there were problems from the start. High levels of bacteria in the Flint River water lead to over-chlorination which, in turn, lead to illegal levels of trihalomethanes, a disinfection by product that can, over time, “cause liver, kidney or central nervous system problems and an increased risk of cancer”.
From there, things got worse.…
The primary justification for Emergency Financial Managers or Emergency Managers in Michigan from the very earliest iterations (and continuing through to today) is that some cities and school districts were just too full of corruption and ineptitude that the state needed to swoop in and save the day.
However, this easy answer has turned out not have been the silver bullet its proponents had promised it would be. In fact, cities and school districts with Emergency Managers aren’t doing much better now than they were before.
In 2011, Pontiac’s Emergency Financial Manager Lou Schimmel outsourced the city’s water treatment to a company facing 26 felony Clean Water Act violations.…
From surplus to ballooning deficit: the legacy of government takeover & Emergency Managers in Detroit Public Schools
In 1999, the Detroit Public School system had a positive fund balance of $246,300,000 according to a ten-year summary in their 2008 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (pages 91-92). That was the same year that the DPS was taken over by the State of Michigan under Republican John Engler. The school district was placed under the control of an Emergency Financial Manager in 2009 and has been under a state-appointed Emergency Financial Manager or, more recently, an Emergency Manager continously since then, ostensibly to fix the financial crisis blamed on the DPS school boards prior to 1999.
How has the state takeover and the imposition of un-democratic emergency management worked out?…
If we learned anything about Emergency Management in a major urban city here in Michigan (i.e., Detroit), it’s that it’s very expensive and some companies make a windfall, all paid for with our tax dollars. Now Atlantic City, NJ, which is under emergency management like Detroit was, is getting a taste.
Since Gov. Chris Christie appointed Emergency Manager Kevin Lavin in January, they have spent $1.7 million and they aren’t done yet. $1.25 million was paid to the audit firm Ernst & Young alone just “to develop a long-term recovery strategy” according to exclusive reporting by Reuters:
Indiana school district to hire former Michigan Emergency Manager who increased debt by nearly $90 million in 18 months
Look out, Indiana! It’s coming right for you!
After having been beta tested in Michigan, the Emergency Manager model of “saving” “failing” municipalities from their own corruption, malfeasance, and ineptitude – or as is more often the case, the implosion of their manufacturing base and disinvestment – is being rolled out in the states of Indiana and New Jersey. In Indiana, Gary Public Schools has just hired a new Emergency Manager (or “fiscal manager” in their parlance) to run the cash-strapped school district. Who is the new overseer? None other than Jack Martin, former Emergency Manager of Highland Park schools and, more recently Detroit Public Schools.…
Former spokesman for Gov. Snyder and Detroit Emergency Manager Orr cashes in on Atlantic City’s financial crisis
Bill Nowling is a longtime Republican spokesman and strategist. He was Governor Rick Snyder’s spokesman for a time. Then he was Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s mouthpiece.
Now Nowling is cashing in on Atlantic City’s current financial emergency:
He did, however, produce a $375 an hour newly hired spokesman, Bill Nowling, previously the spokesman for Detroit’s Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, who also served as a consultant for Atlantic City.…
There was a 3rd SCOTUS decision this week progressives should be thrilled with, one with implications for Michigan
As the celebrations over the U.S. Supreme Court decision in King v. Burwell (which upheld the Affordable Care Act [again]) and their decision in Obergefell v. Hodges (which found same-sex marriage bans to be unconstitutional) begin settle down, it’s worth looking at a third case they decided this week that should have progressives applauding. This one, Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. involved fair housing practices:
Detroit Schools Emergency Manager announces plan to force teachers to reapply for jobs during Teacher Appreciation Week
Earlier this week, President Obama issued a proclamation regarding National Teacher Appreciation Week which runs from May 3rd through May 9th. In his proclamation, he wrote:
“On National Teacher Appreciation Day and during National Teacher Appreciation Week, we honor America’s outstanding teachers and the vital role they play in the lives of our children and the success of our country.
“In classrooms across America, talented and hardworking teachers are nurturing a new generation of thinkers, doers, and dreamers. They teach the subjects and skills that will fuel the next century of growth and innovation, as well as the virtues and values — like character, compassion, creativity, and resilience — that will prepare their students to take on the challenges of the future.…
Former Detroit Emergency Manager Orr billed Atlantic City nearly $1,000/hour for emergency management consulting
It’s a good gig if you can get it…
After leaving as Detroit’s Emergency Manager, bankruptcy attorney Kevyn Orr was quickly tapped to do consulting work for a newly-appointed Emergency Manager in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Orr has completed his work there after just over three months and returned to work at his former employer Jones Day last week.
During his brief time in Atlantic City, Orr cashed in handsomely. He billed the city $950 an hour for his expertise for a total pay off of $70,000:
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