Tag Archives | Emergency Managers

Wednesday morning Michigan Emergency Manager news round-up – 2/22/2012

The never-ending story…

  • Muskegon Heights EM review team still hasn’t met – 3 weeks later
    MLive reports that the financial review team for Muskegon Heights schools still hasn’t met three weeks after it was formed.
    The review team assigned to determine whether Muskegon Heights Public Schools needs an emergency manager has yet to meet three weeks after it was appointed.

    “We’re really concerned about the fact that they’re not moving,” said Dave Sipka, interim superintendent of Muskegon Heights Public Schools.

    The eight-member team was appointed Jan. 31 and has until March 1 to make a recommendation to Gov. Rick Snyder about the need for an emergency manager to oversee the school district.

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My AnnArbor.com op-ed on why Emergency Managers are NOT better than Chapter 9 bankruptcy

Excuse me, but I beg to differ

Last week, AnnArbor.com Business news director Nathan Bomey penned an op-ed titled “Why bankruptcy is worse for Michigan cities than emergency managers”.

As you might imagine, I have an entirely different take on this which you can read at AnnArbor.com in a counterpoint op-ed today titled “The case against emergency managers: How bankruptcy preserves democracy”.

Here’s an excerpt:

The main thrust of Mr. Bomey’s argument is that Chapter 9 bankruptcy is an unpredictable, frightening prospect where municipalities lose control, union contracts are rejected, wages & benefits of employees cut, city vendors take a hit, and hard decisions are made by a single individual who doesn’t answer to the local community.…
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Benton Harbor Emergency Manager Joe Harris appoints himself to several city commissions

It’s good to be the king

The Herald-Palladium reports today that Benton Harbor Emergency Manager Joe Harris appointed himself to several city commissions. I guess he’s not planning on leaving soon after all…

In an order dated Tuesday, Emergency Manager Joseph Harris removed, appointed or reappointed members to the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, the Cemetery Board, the Twin City Area Transportation Authority, the Downtown Development Authority, the Golf Course Oversight Panel, the Benton Harbor Housing Commission, the Benton Harbor Public Library Board, the Planning Commission, the Public Safety/Recreation Committee and the Board of Review.

Harris said Wednesday the city has to make appointments and reappointments to the committees annually but had not done that in the past.

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My piece in The Nation on Michigan’s Emergency Manager law

Michigan’s Emergency Managers in the national spotlight

In the current issue The Nation magazine, I have a piece titled “The Scandal of Michigan’s Emergency Managers” which is a general overview of Public Act 4, Michigan’s Emergency Manager law. For regular Eclectablog readers, there isn’t much new there but for those who haven’t been following, it’s likely to be a bit of a bombshell.

Here’s an excerpt:

Everyone agrees that something must be done to “fix” Michigan’s struggling urban centers and school districts, although news of a $457 million surplus in early February prompted the state budget director to declare, “Things have turned.” But at what cost?…
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Rachel Maddow covers Benton Harbor and selling of city radio equipment – UPDATED

Rachel Maddow did a fine job last night of reporting on an issue I wrote about twice this week (HERE and HERE): the selling off of Benton Harbor’s city radio station equipment. Here’s the video:

This was great journalism – kudos to TRMS producer Laura Conaway – that brought together some seemingly unrelated pieces to show the complete picture including Jonathan Mahler‘s recent New York Times Magazine article.

[And, yeah, she called Eclectablog “the essential Michigan website”.]

By the way, the most recent eBay listing has been updated to correct the misspelling of “Equipment” and replaces the improperly used “negligible” with “negotiable”.…

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Benton Harbor Emgcy Mgr Harris’s attempt to sell city radio equip on eBay gets ZERO bidders – UPDATED x2

Well THAT didn’t work

Benton Harbor Emergency Manager Joe Harris’s effort to sell the city radio station’s equipment (or should I say “Eequiptment”?) on eBay is now over. The auction resulted in [ahem] ZERO bids.


Click image for larger version

UPDATE: It’s baa-aack. Yup, he reposted it on eBay again. You now have just under three days to bid. Same starting price, same $1,000 shipping charge, same misspelling of “Equipment” (“Eequiptment”) and same wrong use of the word “neglible”.

UPDATE 2: Aaa-aand now it’s gone again. “This listing was ended by the seller because the item is no longer available.”

What a clown show……

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More on the Republican no-show at Ann Arbor Emergency Manager forum – Shame on Mark Ouimet

Seriously? TWO HOURS???

Professor Lisa Disch, the woman who organized the Emergency Manager forum in Ann Arbor on February 6, 2012 left me a very kind comment on the cross-posting of my report over at Blogging for Michigan.

In her comment, Professor Disch informs us that Representative Mark Ouimet cancelled his appearance only two hours before the event was scheduled to begin. Two hours. So that he could attend “a school board meeting”.

You can’t tell me it wasn’t intentional that he skipped out that late so that it would be impossible to find another Republican to replace him.…

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Emergency Mgr Joe Harris puts Benton Harbor city radio station equipment on eBay – UPDATED

What’ll ya give me for it?

Back in January, I wrote about Benton Harbor Emergency Manager Joe Harris closing down the radio station that was run from the City Hall basement. He figured it would save the city $10,000-20,000 a year.

This week, Harris put the equipment up for sale on eBay:


Click image for larger version

Item specifics
Low Power radio station and equipment
Transmitter
3 mics
Mackie 16 channel board
2 CD players
Cords included
antenna – negligible on removal [negligible? negotiable?]

The sale has some locals worried. One person wrote to me:

Yes, [the radio station] was low tech and “unprofessional” – but the real folk listened in.…
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Republicans a no-show at Emergency Manager forum in Ann Arbor

We’re sorry, the number you have dialed…

All photos by Anne C. Savage – used with permission

On Monday, February 6, 2012, the Political Science department at the University of Michigan held a public forum/debate on Public Act 4 – the Emergency Manager law. The panelists were Representative Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor); Howard Ryan, Director of Legislative Affairs, MI Department of Treasury; Conan Smith, Washtenaw County Commissioner; and Dayne Walling, Mayor of Flint.

One chair was empty – the one that was supposed to have been occupied by Mark Ouimet, a Republican state Representative (my Representative, in fact.) He cancelled at the last minute saying his presence was required “a school board meeting”.…

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Forum on Public Act 4 to be held TONIGHT in Ann Arbor

Emergency Manager law under the microscope

Tonight, a community forum will be held in Ann Arbor on the subject of Public Act 4, the Emergency Manager law.

On Monday, February 6, from 6 to 8pm in the Eldersveld Room in the Department of Political Science (Haven Hall 5th Floor), the Undergraduate Political Science Association will host: “A Debate on the Emergency Financial Manager Law: Democracy, Expertise, and the Public Good in Financially Troubled Cities”. We often hear in public discourse that government ought to be run more like a business, with streamlined decision-making by expert managers being preferred over the more cumbersome ways of making decisions that are associated with democratic institutions.…
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