Detroit, Emergency Manager Law, Rick Snyder — March 22, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Snyder administration denied appeal on prohibition against signing Consent Agreement with Detroit


Ouch. That’ll leave a mark.

My favorite Michigan judge at the moment, Ingham County Judge William Collette, today issued yet another spanking to the administration of Governor Rick Snyder. The Snyder administration appealed a ruling made an earlier this week barring them from signing a Consent Agreement with Detroit until after a March 29th hearing. That hearing has been postponed twice at the request of the Snyder administration.

Today, Judge Collette denied their appeal. He said he felt “bushwacked” by the state’s request.

An Ingham County Judge this morning denied a request by Gov. Rick Snyder and the Detroit financial review team to lift his order that bars them from entering into a consent agreement with Mayor Dave Bing and Detroit City Council to address the city’s financial emergency until late next week.

Judge William Collette said lifting the order while state attorneys appeal his ruling that the review team violated the Open Meetings Act would open the door for continuing violations.

Collette has set a hearing for March 29 at which review team members, and possibly members of city council, are to be questioned about whether their efforts to negotiate a consent agreement and avoid the appointment of an emergency financial manager were conducted in violation of the law.

This continuing saga is a direct result of the Snyder administration’s ham-handed handling of the entire Emergency Manager situation. While cities around the state struggle under financial emergencies, the review teams have been routinely violating the Open Meetings Act as they run roughshod over the democratic rights of the cities impacted.

If they spent this much time and effort trying to help these cities and schools instead of slashing funding and making their situations more perilous, perhaps progress could be made. At the moment, their only answer is to take over the cities and they are doing it in such a way that true partnerships that could help the situation are nearly impossible.

When people ask me “if not an Emergency Manager, then what’s YOUR answer?”, my answer is that it’s time to stop strangling our cities, start reinvesting in them and begin the process of forming workable relationships where everyone is part of the solution and working together.

So far as I can tell, that’s not going to happen with this administration.

Adding… Judge Collette also refused to halt his prohibition against the reappointment of Highland Park School District’s emergency manager saying, “If you’re violating a law, in good conscience, I can’t stay that.”