Emergency Manager Law, Emergency Managers — January 30, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Indiana Senate decisively passes Emergency Manager bill


Look out, Indiana! It’s comin’ right for ya!

A couple of weeks ago, I told you about Indiana’s slide toward an Emergency Manager law of their own.

I have been wondering how long it would take for a state other than Michigan to pursue an Emergency Manager law. The wait is over. This week, a Republican-sponsored bill allowing the imposition of an Emergency Manager on a “distressed political subdivision” (i.e., a municipality or school district) passed out of committee and goes on to the full state Senate. […]

Under the bill, Senate Bill 355, Emergency Managers have the power to, among other things, do the following:

  • Review existing labor contracts
  • Renegotiate existing labor contracts and act as an agent of the political subdivision in collective bargaining.
  • Reduce or suspend salaries of the political subdivision’s employees.
  • Enter into agreements with other political subdivisions for the provision of services.

The bill differs in a few significant ways from Michigan’s Public Act 4. First, the “political subdivision” must request a designation as “distressed” by filing a petition with the Distressed Unit Appeal Board. In Michigan, a “financial emergency” can be called by the state itself and does not require the municipality or school district to ask first.

Today, the full Indiana Senate passed the bill on a stunning 45-5 vote.

Legislation giving a state board authority to appoint an emergency manager to oversee a cash-strapped local government’s finances passed the Indiana Senate, 45-5, on Monday.

The bill’s author, state Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, reintroduced the bill this year after removing the ability for a local government to file bankruptcy. Charbonneau said the bankruptcy provision killed the bill last session.

“This bill is basically the same bill with one exception,” Charbonneau said. “It removes the option to go to bankruptcy as a final step in the process. It was an issue that caused a lot of controversy last year.”

It’s a slippery slope, Indiana. Be very, very careful. Michigan was where you are today not all that long ago and we’re very close to having over half the African Americans in our state without local democratic representation.