emergency manager

Politics & Government
1:05 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

With an emergency manager in office, do city council budget proposals matter?

Detroit City Council
Stephen Boyle

Earlier this morning, Detroit’s city council voted unanimously to override Mayor Dave Bing’s veto of budget cuts proposed by the council.

Last week, the mayor rejected changes the city council wanted implemented in the city’s $1-billion budget for fiscal year 2013-14, including cuts to his own office. The Detroit News reported:

“The council wanted deeper cuts to Bing's staff and quicker implementation of a new health care cost-sharing formula.

Bing however did not turn down deeper cuts the council recommended for its own department and the consolidation of its divisions.”

The council's override of Bing's veto was unanimous (8-0). Charles Pugh, the president of the council, said this was proof that the council was “standing united.”

But with Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr at the helm of the city’s finances, how much does a united city council matter when it comes to Detroit’s budget?

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Politics & Government
7:35 am
Tue May 28, 2013

In this morning's news: Diane Hathaway in court, Benton Harbor on the rebound, Farm Bill rally

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

State Supreme Court Justice faces sentencing

Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway is due in court today to be sentenced for fraud. Hathaway was forced to resign in January when she pleaded guilty to a scheme to cheat the bank by hiding assets.  Hathaway’s attorney is asking that she be allowed to perform community service and pay thousands of dollars in fines; however, federal prosecutors have asked for prison time of 12 to 18 months. Michigan Radio's Rick Pluta has more.

Benton Harbor EM believes deficit will be eliminated in one year

Tony Saunders, the emergency manager of Benton Harbor, says elected leaders are likely to regain control within a year when the city's structural deficit will be eliminated. Michigan Radio’s Lindsey Smith reports Benton Harbor’s new emergency manager says he’s cut more than a million dollars from the budget in just three months.

Senator Debbie Stabenow's farm bill is headed to the senate

Senator Debbie Stabenow will rally in West Michigan this week. She's trying to get farmers to pressure lawmakers to pass her new farm bill to funds crop insurance programs and research to help fight invasive insects. Last year the Senate passed the farm bill but it died in the House. The Senate is expected to vote on the farm bill early next month.

Politics & Government
9:53 am
Mon May 27, 2013

Benton Harbor emergency manager predicting budget surplus on the horizon

Benton Harbor City Hall
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Benton Harbor’s new emergency manager says the city is on track to eliminate its structural deficit within a year. The city's finances have been under state control for more than three years.

Emergency Manager Tony Saunders started in February after the state ended the previous manager's contract at the city commission’s request.

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Education
7:30 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Despite state takeover, special education problems linger for Muskegon Heights schools

Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Listen to the on air version of this story.

New reports show special education students in Muskegon Heights didn’t get all the services they should have this year. The company that runs the state’s first all-charter public school district is working to correct the problems.

Problems with charter company’s handling of special ed services

Federal law and state regulations outline the rules that are supposed to make sure kids with special needs still get a fair education.

Michigan’s Department of Education found more than a dozen ways the new Muskegon Heights charter district violated those rules, affecting a couple hundred special education students.

“In my opinion this was probably the worst delivery of special education services I’ve seen in my career,” said Norm Kittleson, a former special education teacher at Muskegon Heights. He’s been teaching for 15 years.

Kittleson started teaching a small class of students with learning disabilities and emotional issues at Muskegon Heights last October.

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Education
12:59 am
Wed May 15, 2013

There's more money in Michigan's school aid fund, but should it be spent on schools on the brink?

(file photo)
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Battle Creek State Senator Mike Nofs says he doesn’t think higher than expected revenue in the school aid fund should be used to bail out struggling school districts.

Nofs says at today’s revenue estimating conference, state officials will announce the school aid fund has nearly $100 million more than predicted.

Nofs expects there will be push to use that money to help the struggling Pontiac and Buena Vista school districts. But he says that’s not a good idea.

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Education
12:50 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

2 Michigan schools could close early; in 1993 Kalkaska did it on purpose

Outside Kalkaska High School
Kalkaska schools

No doubt, public schools in Michigan are struggling.

Around 400 students in the Buena Vista school district in Saginaw have been shut out after the district announced they couldn't make payroll.

And it was revealed yesterday that Pontiac schools are close to running out of money and might have to close their doors early.

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Education
12:43 am
Fri May 10, 2013

Buena Vista school district could be headed down the path to an emergency manager

Parents and children embrace during last night's Buena Vista School Board meeting
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

A Saginaw area school district that's closed its doors has now asked the state to review its finances.

That's the first step toward a state appointed emergency manager.

But the move does not guarantee the District's 400 students will be back in class anytime soon.

The Buena Vista school board heard from parents and students last night, angry about the abrupt and apparent early end of the school year.

“If we don’t get these kids back in school…we’re going to be the ones who destroyed their lives,” one upset father told the school board. 

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Newsmaker Interviews
9:51 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Mayor Dayne Walling on financial future of Flint

Flint Mayor Dayne Walling
Facebook

Originally aired Tuesday, May 7th 2013.

Flint’s Emergency Manager, Ed Kurtz, says he will resign come June 30th, which may put Flint a step closer to returning to local control. Flint Mayor Dayne Walling talks with Jennifer White about the financial future of Flint.

Flint’s city council recently passed a resolution asking Governor Rick Snyder to remove the city’s emergency manager and appoint a transition advisory team.

“There are a number of requirements in the law that would have to be met by the appointed manager before a transition board could be put in place, such as the adoption of a two-year budget. So, city council leadership and I have been calling on for those steps to get done as soon as possible. The city of Flint does face financial challenges, let’s get addressed as soon as possible so we can move on,” says Mayor Walling.

When asked how financially healthy Flint is right now, Walling says:

“It’s marginally stable. But our position is that it’s going to take some long-term planning, some serious community partnerships to get the city to where it’s more sustainable going forward. And that work cannot be done effectively by an appointed manager.”

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
10:31 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

On second take, Benton Harbor voters approve “vital” operating millages

Benton Harbor City Hall
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

People in Benton Harbor voted overwhelmingly to raise property taxes to support city services in Tuesday’s election.

That’s after voters rejected a similar set of proposals last November. The city is already running in the red and the millage represents around 20-percent of the city’s income.

“You just can’t see me dancing in the streets on the radio,” Mayor James Hightower said over the phone Tuesday night, “It’s a great day in Benton Harbor.”

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Education
11:14 am
Tue May 7, 2013

Michigan school district out of money, closes doors today

School closed today. The announcment on the Buena Vista School District's website.
screen grab

The financial storm has been brewing at the Buena Vista School District outside of Saginaw for some time, but it came to a head today.

The Buena Vista School District announced that the school is closed today and that teachers will be laid off.

A community meeting is expected to be held at 6 p.m tonight.

The District has faced declining enrollment at a time when public education funds are being cut in the state.

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Politics & Government
9:00 am
Sat May 4, 2013

The week in review: Run for Senate, live-in partners, DPS emergency manager steps down

The Lansing Capitol
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

Week in review interview for 5/3/13

This "week in review," Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss the U.S. Senate race, allowing health coverage for live-in partners and the retirement of the emergency manager for Detroit Public Schools.

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Education
3:31 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Detroit Public Schools emergency manager retiring

Roy Roberts, DPS Emergency Manager
Detroit Public Schools

The state-appointed emergency manager for Detroit Public Schools announced his retirement today. 

Governor Rick Snyder appointed Roy Roberts to manage the state's largest school system in 2011.

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Politics & Government
6:05 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

With 'financial emergency' over in Ecorse, Joyce Parker still watching

Joyce Parker

  State officials say the financial emergency in the city of Ecorse has been resolved.
 
The city has been under the control of an emergency manager since 2009 – when then-Governor Jennifer Granholm made the appointment.
 
Now, word comes that the city’s budget is balanced and a $20 million deficit has been eliminated.
 
But the announcement doesn't mean elected officials are getting their authority back right away. That’s because Joyce Parker – Ecorse's former emergency manager - has given the city a two-year budget that it must follow.
 
Parker – who we should note is also the emergency manager of Allen Park– joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
12:20 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

Pelosi: Detroit 'still engaged in a great freedom walk'

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
Wikipedia Commons

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, says Detroit is "still engaged in a great freedom walk … and a campaign to preserve the dignity of all Americans."

Pelosi made the remarks as the featured speaker for the Detroit NAACP’s 56th annual gathering last night.

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Politics & Government
10:47 am
Mon April 29, 2013

Pontiac schools headed for an emergency manager?

City of Pontiac.

Will Michigan's next emergency manager operate the Pontiac School District?

More from the Associated Press:

Officials plan to wrap up a review by next month of the Pontiac School District's finances that could lead to the appointment of an emergency manager or other measures.

District officials recently were notified by state Superintendent Mike Flanagan of the preliminary financial review, which is to begin Monday and end by May 24.

In a letter, Flanagan describes the public school district's situation as "critical and alarming."

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Politics & Government
8:49 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Governor Snyder appoints state review team for Hamtramck

Hamtramck could be the next Michigan city to get an emergency manager.

Governor Snyder appointed a state review team to examine the city’s finances Wednesday.

Hamtramck city officials actually asked for the state review. The tiny enclave within Detroit has struggled financially for many years.

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Politics & Government
1:44 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Charlie LeDuff talks about "dead flight" on Colbert Report

LeDuff said he thought about running for mayor, but then realized he'd have to actually do the job, so decided not to.
Comedy Central screen grab

Former New York Times reporter, current Fox TV reporter (WJBK), and author  Charlie LeDuff appeared on Comedy Central's Colbert Report last night to promote his book Detroit: An American Autopsy.

When Colbert asked "what is the cause of death" in Detroit, LeDuff responded:

"White flight, black flight, business flight, job flight, we even have dead flight.”

"Dead people will not stay in Detroit?!"

"It's gotten so bad... people who grew up in Detroit and who now live out in the suburbs and are afraid of it - about 1,200 in the last five years - they've gone and got grandma, exhumed her, and brought her out to the suburbs to visit her."

Here's the video:

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Indecision Political Humor,Video Archive

Politics & Government
7:22 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

Suit to halt Detroit emergency manager appointment dismissed

Spirit of Detroit (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A lawsuit seeking to block the appointment of Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr has been dismissed.

Activist Robert Davis said Monday that the lawsuit became "moot" when a Lansing Circuit Court judge refused last month to hold a hearing before Orr's hiring by the state's Emergency Loan Board.

Davis says both parties stipulated that the suit be dismissed "based on a pending case" before another judge to invalidate Orr's appointment.

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Politics & Government
2:37 pm
Fri April 5, 2013

EM protestors stage a 'slowdown in Motown' along I-75 on opening day

The highways around Detroit are being used for displays of civil disobedience over the emergency manager law.

It started last month, and has carried to opening day.

MLive's Gus Burns writes that he was on his way to cover opening day for the Tigers this morning when he decided to tag along with the protestors.

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Stateside
6:18 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

The challenges Detroit's emergency manager faces

Flikr

Time now for our weekly check-in with Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes.

On Dan's mind today is Detroit's emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, who has been on the job for less than two weeks.

So far Orr has kept salaries intact for the Mayor and City Council and has allowed them to keep meeting.

As Howes talks with business leaders and others, he has been hearing the reviews they have been giving to Orr in these first days.

Recently, he had the opportunity to sit down with someone who knows what kind of challenges Kevyn Orr faces.

Joseph Harris, the former emergency manager in Benton Harbor and Detroit's auditor general for 10 years, has a lot of knowledge when it comes to building bridges and reaching out to business and foundation leaders.

His advice for Orr, "get moving like your hair is on fire."

Today, we get to hear, what advice Harris has given to Orr when it comes to addressing Detroit's financial problems.

To hear more from Daniel Howes, his column is in today's edition of the Detroit News.

To listen to the full audio, click the link above.

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