Benton Harbor EFM Joe Harris to rescind City Commission’s “unconstitutionality” resolution


As I reported yesterday, the Benton Harbor City Commission passed a resolution, declaring the takeover of their city by Emergency Financial Manager Joseph L. Harris to be unconstitutional. Joe Harris doesn’t give a damn.

He’s going to rescind their resolution.

Benton Harbor Emergency Manager Joseph Harris tells [WSJM] that he plans to issue an order rescinding this week’s city commission vote on a resolution to declare Michigan’s emergency manager law unconstitutional. Harris says that the vote has no legal validity, and notes that it was in violation of his directive to the commission that it may not vote on anything, other than to open and close meetings, and approve minutes. He tells us that he has not decided to go as far as lock the commissioners out of city hall, but he will send them a cease and desist order regarding further votes on such resolutions.

See that? He’s being magnanimous. He’s not going to lock them out for being bad boys and girls and he probably won’t even have them arrested for breaking his rules.

But he is, however, going to tear up the paper they wrote their silly little resolution on and shower it over their heads like confetti. Maybe next time they’ll know their place.

On a related note, Commissioner Dennis Knowles said that they were able to send their resolution out on City stationary but had to buy their own stamps to mail them “because they are no longer able to order supplies.”

“This is the government working beyond the dictatorship,” he said. “That is what we are doing.”

“This is about democracy … it is about human rights. It is a litmus test to see if the Constitution even still exists.”

By the way, if you’re looking for some good background on the City of Benton Harbor and how it got to where it is today, I can highly recommend Ryan Harvey’s article at It’s a very well-written and well-researched piece and is essential reading for anyone trying to understand how this city, located on one of the most beautiful parts of the State of Michigan, could end up with nearly half its population under the poverty line and facing annihilation of their government. Thank you to the several folks who brought the article to my attention.

I’m just sayin’…