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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Predominately African-American community, Benton Harbor, first to fall under Michigan Governor Snyder's EFM Law

Aerial picture of Benton Harbor, MichiganImage via Wikipedia
Benton Harbor, Michigan, the first causality
of Governor Rick Snyder (R) Emergency
Financial Manager law, is a majority African-
American community, off the shores of
Lake Michigan.
The first causality of Governor Rick Snyder (R) “Emergency Financial Manager” (EFM) law is the predominately African-American-Lake Michigan shore community of Benton Harbor, Michigan

On April 18th, Snyder solely appointed a EFM to essentially take over the city, after he deemed that Benton Harbor to be in “financial crisis.”

Snyder's state-appointed Emergency Financial Manager, Joseph Harris, has the power to void union contracts, remove elected officials, dissolve local elective authority completely and replace it with the authority of the Snyder through the EFM. Public workers will be being forced into concessions on their union rights, hereby, gutting bargained contract negotiations and eliminating jobs.
"Benton Harbor needs something other than the books managed. We need help for the community and resources to come in because we're still living in America. America the beautiful, but this speaks for itself. The truth needs no support. It speaks for itself," said city Commissioner Duane Seats.
Under what is called "Financial Martial Law", Benton Harbor city officials can still call meetings to order, approve of the meeting minutes, and adjourn a meeting. Other city governmental authority duties, including managing financial manner, will be under the EFM and Governor Snyder rule. Also, those same elected city officials can be removed by EFM Joseph Harris at anytime.
Snyder's takeover of Benton Harbor though his "Emergency Financial Manager" sets a dangerous precedent of the Governor. Debates on Michigan's Constitution, questions the grab of power and authority over a city, which are beyond the duties of the highest elected official in Michigan. 
According the law, signed in March, the EFM is only allowed to take power in a city in financial crisis, which is determined by Governor Rick Snyder. 
Learn more about Benton Harbor, Michigan via MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show Highlight on April 18, 2011

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