Tag Archives | Emergency Managers

Constitutionality of Michigan’s anti-democratic Emergency Manager law headed to federal court

Federal District Court Judge George Caram Steeh has found that a lawsuit challenging Michigan’s anti-democratic Emergency Manager law, Public Act 436, can move forward based on its disparate impact on African Americans in Michigan.

The suit alleges that PA 436 is unconstitutional based on nine specific causes:

  1. Denial of “substantive due process” by violating the right to vote of Michigan citizens living in municipalities controlled by Emergency Managers
  2. Violation of the Guarantee Clause which guarantees ” to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government”
  3. Violation of the Equal Protection Clause by the denial of the “fundamental right to vote [which] has been denied, abridged, and/or diluted by PA 436 because governing authority is stripped from local elected officials and transferred to one unelected EM with no accountability to local citizens”
  4. Violation of the Equal Protection Clause by discrimination based on race
  5. Violation of the Equal Protection Clause by discrimination based on wealth
  6. Violation of the Voting Rights Act
  7. Violation of the First Amendment by:
    1. Viewpoint discrimination which violates the First Amendment when it regulates speech based on substantive content
    2. Denial of Freedom of Speech
    3. Denial of the right to petition the government
  8. Violation of the Thirteenth Amendment prohibiting slavery
  9. Discrimination against localities with Emergency Manager appointed under previous laws

Every one of these was found to be invalid except for #4, the violation of the Equal Protection Clause by discrimination based on race.…

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After slashing teacher benefits, firing staff, and outsourcing “nearly everything”, Flint schools face Emergency Management

Welcome to Michigan under Republican rule

Flint schools have been in financial trouble since 2011 when it first went into debt. In 2012, they eliminated 460 teachers and staff positions. In May of this year, they laid off 91 more teachers and staff and slashed benefits of the remaining teachers as an alternative to a 19% pay cut. Later in the summer, another 12 teachers and 8 administrators were fired. In the meantime, they have “closed and sold off buildings, eliminated staff and outsourced nearly everything except instructional and administrative positions.”

The result? An increased deficit that now leaves Flint schools $21.9 million in the hole and facing an Emergency Manager.…

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Democracy denied: Flint Emergency Manager appointing City Council members instead of holding elections

Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley is using his powers as a state-appointed overseer of the city to appoint two outgoing City Council members rather than permitting a special election as the City’s rules require:

Emergency manager Darnell Earley says he will use his power under state law to appoint replacements for two departing City Council members, rather than allowing their colleagues to take on the task.

Earley said in a news release today, Nov. 13, that he will accept letters of interest, resumes, and references from residents interested in the 3rd and 6th Ward vacancies. […]

Council members have said the state emergency manager law gives Earley the authority to make the council appointments but suggested he allow the council to do so as a part of Flint’s transition to home rule.

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Michigan exports its anti-democratic model: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie considers an Emergency Manager for Atlantic City

Remember when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie came to Michigan to visit Governor Rick Snyder in March? And when he came back again in September? At the time, everyone assumed that it was because he was fundraising as part of his role as Chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

It turns out that it may have been as much as fact-finding mission as anything else. This week, Christie announced that he is considering imposing an Emergency Manager on the city of Atlantic City:

An emergency manager to oversee the city’s troubled finances and the creation of a new public-private development corporation are part of a package of reforms Gov.…
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Under Emergency Management Detroit Public Schools loses Headstart funding for nearly 1,000 kids

Back in 2012, Pontiac Emergency Manager Louis Schimmel signed an agreement with Oakland County to manage monies from a substantial HUD grant. That turned out to be a nearly disasterous decision that would have resulted in a loss of upwards of $800,000 per year for Pontiac. Thankfully, Congressman Gary Peters stepped in a saved the day (and the money.)

At the time Congressman Peters had this to say about the situation:

“Emergency managers come in and are focused on balancing budgets in the short term, and because of that they make decisions that aren’t necessarily in the best interest of the city,” he said.…
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The data is clear: Emergency Management not working in Detroit Public Schools

The EAA isn’t the only experiment being conducted on Detroit children

In all of the sturm und drang over Republican Governor Rick Snyder’s Educational Achievement Authority experiment with Detroit children, it’s easy to forget about the other experiment they are part of: state control of the Detroit Public Schools by an Emergency Manager. I’ve written reams on this topic but not much recently given that the EAA has sucked so much oxygen out of the room.

However, I haven’t forgotten about this and neither has my friend Dr. Thomas Pedroni, Director of the Leonard Kaplan Education Center for Critical Urban Studies and Associate Professor for Curriculum Studies at Wayne State University.…

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A comprehensive look at Michigan’s new(est) Emergency Manager Law, now with STABILITY & CHOICE!

I read this stuff so you don't have to

A mere 37 days after voters repealed Public Act 4, Michigan's notorious and anti-democratic Emergency Manager Law, Republican legislators passed a new version to replace it. It was signed into law as Public Act 436 thirteen days later. This defiant thumb-in-the-eye to the will of the voters was even more egregious since it contains two appropriations, one to pay Emergency Managers and another to hire consultants, lawyers, "work-out experts", and others to implement the law. These appropriations ensure voters won't have a chance to interfere with the business of our Very Serious GOP legislators on this matter again. So, what, exactly, is in this new law? Well, for starters, let's have a look at the title: "THE LOCAL FINANCIAL STABILITY AND CHOICE ACT" I'm not kidding. That's what they call it. It's surprising they didn't figure out a way to include the words "FREEDOM" and "INDEPENDENCE" while they were at it. You can read the law HERE (pdf). All the gory details of this new law after the jump.
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Judge smacks down Pontiac Emergency Financial Manager, says he’s running the city “like a dictatorship”

Some truth-telling from the judicial branch

Back in December, Pontiac Emergency Manager Lou Schimmel unilaterally decided to change the composition of the city's pension board from 11 to 5 members. He thought they were wasting time and money and felt his role as the EM gave him the ability to simply do what he wished. Yesterday, Oakland County Judge Rae Lee Chabot upheld a preliminary injunction filed by the pension board and reversed Schimmel's action. In her smack-down of Schimmel's move, she said "That’s what it looks like — it looks like a dictatorship where the (emergency financial manager) said, 'look, I’m going to turn over the board so there is no opposition.'" More after the jump.
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Judge sends Flint Emergency Manager Michael Brown packing – for now.

Take your victories where you can get them

Flint Mayor Dayne Walling

As I mentioned earlier, a judge had put a restraining order on Flint Emergency Manager Michael Brown due to potential violations of the Open Meetings Act. The hearing was this afternoon and, now that it’s over, Michael Brown is unemployed and Dayne Walling is mayor again. Not only that, everything Brown has done as Emergency Manager is reversed.

For now.

I have no doubt that the Snyder administration will simply go through the proper motions this time and redo the whole thing. I am sure that, within a month, Flint will have an Emergency Manager again.…

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Michigan judge bars Snyder administration from signing Detroit Consent Agreement – for now

Can’t win for losin’…

The Snyder administration was handed another in a long list of legal setbacks today as my now-favorite judge, Ingham Country Judge William Collette, smacked them down again.

Recall that Judge Collette had already issued a mighty smackdown to the Detroit Emergency Manager Review Team earlier in the month:

An Ingham County judge this afternoon ordered all 10 members of the Detroit emergency financial review team to appear in his courtroom March 12 to answer why they should not be held in contempt for attempting to evade his finding that the review team is subject to the Open Meetings Act by forming a smaller committee to meet in secret.
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