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Mon March 26, 2012
Flint emergency manager back in charge
Flint’s emergency manager is back in charge of the city. At least, temporarily.
The Michigan Court of Appeals today put on hold a lower court ruling that left questions about who was in charge in Flint.
Last week, Ingham County circuit court judge Rosemarie Aquilina ruled that the state financial review team that recommended the appointment of an emergency manager in Flint had violated Michigan’s open meetings law. The judge decided that the appointment and all the decisions emergency manager Michael Brown had made since December were invalidate.
The governor’s office appealed the judge’s order, describing it as "devastating."
The Court of Appeals has agreed to hear the case. The court put a stay on the lower court ruling and reinstated Michael Brown as Flint’s emergency manager.
In her order last week, Judge Aquilina had directed Flint's mayor and city council to resume their roles. One of the first things Michael Brown did as emergency manager was to limit the power of Flint's elected leaders.
Flint Mayor Dayne Walling issued a statement after today's ruling of the Court of Appeals:
"As the legal challenges to PA4 move through the courts system, the Flint community needs to work together to address our long-standing challenges with finances, public safety and economic development. While the courts are flip-flopping on the critical issue of the Open Meetings requirement, I will work every day to make our community a better place for families and businesses."
The timing of the Court of Appeals decision today could be critical. Flint, like other Michigan cities, is drafting its budget for next year.
Flint faces a budget deficit that could be as high as $20 million.