The outrageous working/learning environment in some of Detroit school buildings has gotten national and even international attention over the past few months. Over the past month, teachers have staged multiple “sick-outs” to protest the deplorable conditions they are forced to try to teach in, resulting in multiple school closings. Detroit Public Schools (DPS) Emergency Manager Darnell Earley has tried twice to get courts to intervene but was rebuffed both times. Yesterday, DPS students themselves staged a protest. The only outcome of that expression of civil disobedience was that some of them were suspended:
Tag: Emergency Managers
One of the reasons I have written about Emergency Management in Michigan ad nauseum is because I contend that we are the testing ground for this anti-democratic move in state governments, the “beta testers”, if you will. With the evidence now in and showing it to be a colossal failure, other states are still moving forward with it. Indiana was the first. They were followed by New Jersey. And now it’s Illinois
First, let’s take a look at what’s happening in New Jersey. Atlantic City is struggling under an implosion of their gaming industry which has cratered their city budget (no thanks, in part, to presidential candidate Donald Trump.) Their emergency manager recommended passage of a package of bills to bail out the beleaguered city and the man who appointed him, presidential candidate Gov.…Read more ›
Why is the man most to blame for the #FlintWaterCrisis, Darnell Earley, still the Emergency Manager of Detroit schools?
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On April 16, 2013, Flint Emergency Manager Ed Kurtz signed an agreement on behalf of the city to form a new water district that would, when the project was completed, get its water from Lake Huron via a new pipeline. The decision was made in order save money since water from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) was very expensive.…Read more ›
Without real journalism, democracy dies – and it’s dying in Atlantic City under Emergency Management
Journalism is defined as “the activity or job of collecting, writing, and editing news stories for newspapers, magazines, television, or radio.” In this new media age, you can add blogs and podcasts and other online news sources to that, as well. It is my firm belief that journalism – TRUE journalism – goes farther than that: it is a necessary element in a vibrant democracy and has the crucial role of revealing information that might otherwise be hidden and holding our elected officials and other leaders accountable for doing their jobs.
When people accuse me of being a journalist, I often brush them off saying that I don’t consider myself a journalist.…Read more ›
The worst part about the poisoning of Flint’s drinking water is that nobody will go to prison for it
No Snyder administration officials will be held accountable. And that’s exactly the problem.
At long last, after activists and elected officials and even bloggers like LOLGOP and I have been sounding the alarm about the poisoning of Flint residents with lead in their drinking water, the story has finally hit the national stage. In the past week, in addition to the Michigan media outlets who have been doing yeoman’s work exposing the role Snyder administration officials played in this human tragedy, national media groups have been reporting the story. The Rachel Maddow Show has run numerous segments including a recent interview with ACLU investigative journalist Curt Guyette.…Read more ›
UPDATED: Flint Mayor Dayne Walling talks about Flint’s water crisis, Emergency Managers, and the State government
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.…Read more ›
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.…Read more ›
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 and 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.…Read more ›
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?…Read more ›
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.…Read more ›