Benton Harbor Emergency Manager Joe Harris: crappy accountant

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.

“The issue here is that you have an emergency manager zealously pursuing his mission of cost-cutting to impress his employers and the media, and willfully ignoring critical accounting controls that are in place to protect the resources and property of the city of Benton Harbor,” said Detroit CPA Greg Frazier.…
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Billboard supporting Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s job creation in front of shuttered plant

This is from the terrific blog Defend Wisconsin

A photo of a billboard in Janesville, Wisconsin, featuring a smiling Scott Walker, was captured on camera and posted as a pic on Facebook. Besides a smiling Scott Walker, the billboard states in Walker-campaign font: Scott Walker Creating Jobs for Wisconsin. Below, the billboard asks the readers to call Governor Walker and thank him. The advertisement is paid for by the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce association, long known in Wisconsin as a powerful arm of the Republican party.

Turns out that the pro-Walker billboard sits in front of a Janesville, Wisconsin GM plant that was closed in 2008.…

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Think Emergency Managers are only for “black” schools & cities? Think again Part 2.

This morning I wrote about Perry schools being threatened with a state takeover, a city in a county with only 0.5% African Americans.

They aren’t the only ones.

Suttons Bay is in the “Pinky” of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. The Suttons Bay school district is facing an Emergency Manager, as well.

Superintendent Mike Murray says the district planned to get state funding for 760 students, but fell short by 114 students due to a charter school’s decision to drop out of Suttons Bay’s virtual school.

With this funding shortfall, Murray says he has no choice and will be asking the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians for $400,000.

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Flint Emergency Manager decides to let City Council open and adjourn meetings

This is so damn patronizing. Flint Emergency Manager Michael Brown has issued an order restoring City Council meetings which he had previously cancelled.

Here’s the agenda of the meetings (unless Brown modifies it):

  1. Call to Order by the Council President
  2. Roll Call by the City Clerk
  3. Pledge of Allegiance
  4. Presentation of Minutes
  5. Report by the Emergency Manager and/or his designee(s)
  6. Council Questions and Answers
  7. Closing Comments by the Emergency Manager
  8. Public Comment
  9. Adjournment

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.…

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Another one bites the dust: Highland Park schools to get an Emergency Manager

Not unexpected, just another drop in a torrent: Governor Rick Snyder has declared a financial emergency in Highland Park, and will appoint an Emergency Manager.

Gov. Rick Snyder today said he would appoint an emergency manager to oversee the financially troubled Highland Park School District – just hours before state officials announced they are reluctantly giving the district a $188,000 cash advance so the district could cover payroll Friday.

The latter, State Superintendent Mike Flanagan and State Treasury Andy Dillon said, is being done in order to avoid the district’s financial crisis affecting children.

“Most troubling to me is that this is a temporary fix,” Dillon said of the cash advance, which he said will carry the district through Feb.

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Think Emergency Managers are only for “black” cities & schools? Think again.

Much of the outrage about Public Act 4, the Emergency Manager law centers around its disparate impact on minority school districts and cities. But this law may be coming to city or school near you even if it’s not a so-called “majority minority” area. Take a look at the data that was assembled by Progress Michigan to see how obvious that is.

This week, Perry Schools announced that it will run out of money before the end of the year. According to an article in the Argus-Press (not available online without a subscription), Perry Schools face a $1 million deficit in their budget.…

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GOP seeks to end limits on ALL corporate campaign donations including to parties & candidates

At the moment, as egregious as the Citizens United Supreme Court decision was, it’s still illegal for corporations to give directly to candidates or political parties. If the GOP has its way, that will end.

The century-old ban on corporate donations to federal political campaigns should be junked as unconstitutional, the Republican National Committee argued in a legal brief filed Tuesday that could lead to new attacks on the GOP as beholden to corporate money.

The GOP brief filed with a federal appeals court contends that the ban which became law back in 1908 violates the First Amendment in light of recent Supreme Court rulings, including the 2010 Citizens United decision which allowed unlimited donations to independent-expenditure groups.

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Has the GOP given President Obama the “out” he needs to reject the Keystone XL oil pipeline?

There were some interesting revelations in statements made to day by Jay Carney, President Obama’s Press Secretary relating the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Recall that in the bill to extend the middle class income tax break, Republicans put in a requirement that he give his ruling on it by next month. Follow me over the orange squiggledegibbet for what went down at this afternoon’s presser.

QUESTION: Jay, this morning the U.S. Chamber had a big event where leaders spoke about their policy positions, calling on the administration to pass Keystone as quickly as possible to create as many jobs as possible.…
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