Last Friday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, announced that the state will proceed with a takeover of Detroit’s Democratic city government. “The current system has not been working. We have not stopped the decline,” said Snyder. “This is time for us not to argue or to blame, but to come together as Detroit, Mich., not Detroit vs. Michigan, and bring all of our resources to bear.” Snyder may not want to point the finger, but it is obvious that decades of Democratic rule and economic policies have brought this once great city to its knees.
The move, one step short of declaring municipal bankruptcy, means Snyder will be appointing an emergency manager with sweeping powers similar to that of a bankruptcy judge. Such powers include the ability to toss out unaffordable contracts with public employee unions and vendors, put city assets up for sale, consolidate or eliminate government departments, make further service cuts, or recommend municipal bankruptcy–all of which can be implemented with little to no input from local elected officials.
Democratic Mayor Dave Bing has a 10-day window to request a hearing on the decision. If he does the hearing will take place on March 12 in Lansing. If the appeal is denied, Snyder will appoint the manager. As of now that person hasn’t been identified, but the Governor says he has someone in mind. After 18 months, the emergency manager would be subject to review by local officials, at which time he could be removed or replaced.
Mayor Bing sounded like he was leaning towards appeal. “The Governor has made his decision, and it was his decision alone to make,” said Bing. “While I respect it, I have said all along that I do not favor an Emergency Manager for the City of Detroit. I will look at the impact of the Governor’s decision as well as other options, to determine my next course of action.”
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