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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Despite Gov. Snyder's claim the Emergency Financial Manager law 'desperately needed', three groups file civil lawsuits

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Three groups representing Michigan citizens
file lawsuits of Governor Rick Snyder (R)
Emergency Financial Manager law.
Governor Rick Snyder (R), though his spokesperson cited on Wednesday, June 22nd, that the dictatorial based Emergency Financial Manager (EFM) bill, recently signed into law, was "desperately needed" to help local communities and schools. But, a lawsuit filed on behalf of 28 citizens in a Ingham County Circuit Court, strongly disagrees with Snyder's claims of "help". 

Instead, the lawsuit claims the EFM law approved in March 2011 is unconstitutional in part because, it takes away citizens' rights to vote for and petition local government on matters of local concern. In addition, the suit cites the law suspends "home rule" for cities by giving emergency managers the power to repeal local ordinances and contracts.

The EFM law originally drafted by former Governor Jennifer Granholm (D), intended to appoint a 'overseer' to financially troubled school districts. 

Shortly after being sworn into office in January 2011, Snyder informed residents of the state that he would be expanding the scope and impact of the measure, upon approval of the Republican controlled state legislative houses. The revised law, passed in March, allows EFM's to strip power from locally elected leaders, school boards and scrap union contracts. 

"It's basically appointing dictators where there are elected officials in place," Bill Goodman, a lawyer affiliated with the suit, said to M-Live. "That's an attack on democracy. That's a power grab by Lansing."
Opposition to the EFM law have quickly formed in various parts of the state, by a variety of organizations. The Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice is the lead counsel for the citizens taking the case to Ingham County court. City of Detroit pension boards in April, similarly sued in federal court seeking to block EFM measures to city of Detroit union contracts. 

Another group called Michigan Forward has started a petition drive aimed at giving voters a chance to decide whether the law should be repealed by a constitutional referendum  

Michigan has emergency managers in place in the Detroit Public School system and the cities of Benton Harbor, Ecorse and Pontiac. Powers granted by the new state law have been used in some of those locations.

Supporters of the new Republican-backed law say it gives emergency managers necessary tools to fix financial problems that weren't so-called "adequately addressed" by local officials.

A informational town hall event in the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan, in Governor Snyder's home county of Washtenaw, will be held on Saturday, June 25th at the Ann Arbor Community Center 625 N. Main Street.  Brandon Jessup-C.E.O. of the Michigan Forward group, will be one of the feature speakers on hand to answer questions about repealing the Emergency Financial Manager law, Public Act #4.

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