Gov. Snyder: A one-man financial review team for Detroit, hired Emergency Manager before emergency was declared


Financial review team??? We don’t need no stinkin’ financial review team!

The Detroit Free Press has obtained copies of the emails between Governor Snyder’s staff and Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr that prove that he was basically offered the position before the financial emergency had even been declared in Detroit. Under Emergency Financial Manager law that was in effect at the time, Public Act 72, a state review team had to make the determination that Detroit was actually in a financial emergency before an Emergency Financial Manager was hired. This detail … sorry – LAW – did not appear to get in the way of Governor Snyder making the assessment himself and hiring Orr before the process had been completed.

The law (pdf), specifically, said this:

The governor shall appoint a review team of the state treasurer, the auditor general, a nominee of the senate majority leader, a nominee of the speaker of the house of representatives, and other state officials or other persons with relevant professional experience to serve as a review team to undertake a local financial management review… {…}

If the governor determines pursuant to subsection (1) that a financial emergency exists, the governor shall provide the governing body and chief administrative officer of the local unit with a written notification of the determination, findings of fact utilized as the basis upon which this determination was made, a concise and explicit statement of the underlying facts supporting the factual findings, and notice that the chief administrative officer or the governing body of the local government has 10 days after the date of this notification to request a hearing conducted by the governor or the governor’s designate. {…}

If the governor determines that a financial emergency exists under section 15, the governor shall assign the responsibility for managing the local government financial emergency to the local emergency financial assistance loan board created under the emergency municipal loan act, Act No. 243 of the Public Acts of 1980, being sections 141.931 to 141.942 of the Michigan Compiled Laws. The local emergency financial assistance loan board shall appoint an emergency financial manager.

Note the progression there:

(A) The governor appoints the review team.
(B) The review team makes an assessment.
(C) If the assessment is that the city needs at EFM, the governor notifies the city in writing and then assigns management of the city to the local financial assistance loan board.
(D) The local financial assistance loan board then appoints an EFM.

Governor Snyder did appoint the team but, based on the emails (you can read them HERE [pdf]), he had already hired Orr before the review team’s report was issued on February 20th, before the governor himself had formally declared the emergency which happened on March 1st, and before the review team (whose job it was to hire him) appointed Orr on March 14th.

He skipped steps B & C and took over step D himself. The conversations were going on as early as February 12th, a week before the report was issued. They were even getting photos for Mr. Orr’s apartment building on February 25th which was over two weeks before he was even appointed. Very efficient!

Also very illegal.

Have fun with your reelection campaign, Governor. You’ve proven that you think you’re above the law and one of your lasting legacies is that nearly 10% of the citizens of Michigan, and literally half of the people of color in our state, live under one of your appointed anti-democratic dictators.

That’s some messed up “relentless positive action” you have going there.

[Caricature by DonkeyHotey from photos by Anne C. Savage for Eclectablog]