Detroit Emergency Manager

Stateside
5:31 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

New challenges to Michigan's new emergency manager law

Is Snyder's Emergency Manager law constitutional?
Tiberius Images / Flickr

Organizations are filing legal actions against the state's new emergency manager law.

One of the very vocal groups opposed to the law is the Maurice and Jane Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice. 

"At its most basic level, we believe that there's a fundamental right in this country, that if you're going to have a government, that government has to be an elected body and a representative government," said John Philo, the legal director at the Sugar Law Center.

"Under [the emergency manager] law, the emergency management becomes the governing body. It's important to keep in mind that the law doesn't confine their governments to financial matters. The problem with this law is that you're giving full governing power, not just finances [to the emergency manager]. You're putting that one person, who is unelected and unaccountable to the people, in power," he said.

In January, the Michigan Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the law, and allowed Public Act 72 to stay in place until the new version takes effect March 28. 

Michigan Radio's Cynthia Canty spoke with Philo about his thoughts on the emergency manager law and what it says about our state government.

To hear the full report, click the link above.

Politics & Government
8:34 am
Wed March 20, 2013

The week in Michigan politics: The EM for Detroit, Blue Cross overhaul, right to work

Shawn Wilson wikimedia

Week in Michigan politics interview

This week in Michigan politics, Christina Shockley and Jack Lessenberry discuss what's ahead for Kevyn Orr, the soon to be emergency manager for Detroit. They also talk about how some universities might face cuts after renegotiating labor contracts before the right to work law goes into effect later this month, and how the Blue Cross Blue Shield overhaul will affect the majority of Michiganders in the state.

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Stateside
5:06 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Detroit's emergency manager is upbeat about city's potential

Detroit emergency manager Kevin Orr
State of Michigan

The following is a summary of the above audio. To hear the full interview, click above.

It's been five days since Governor Snyder presented Kevyn Orr as the emergency manager of Detroit.

Many were quick to comment about Orr’s “introduction” to Michigan and that he seemed well-suited for the job.

He is a U-M law school alumnus, an attorney specializing in bankruptcy law and he helped guide Chrysler through its bankruptcy.

At his introductory press conference last Thursday with Governor Snyder and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, Kevyn Orr certainly seemed ready and willing  to take on the gargantuan task of “fixing” Detroit’s dire financial crisis.

Within the first day of that press conference, it was reported that Orr had some financial troubles of his own. He had liens on his home over unpaid unemployment insurance taxes.

"It is quite embarrassing when something like that comes up, but I took care of that as soon as I could and paid it off," Orr said. "Frankly, I have been too focused on my professional obligations and not as focused enough on my private obligations."

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Politics & Government
7:34 am
Tue March 19, 2013

In this morning's news: Blue Cross overhaul, Detroit EM unpaid taxes, Flint delays project for water

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Governor Snyder signs Blue Cross Blue Shield overhaul

"Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation overhauling Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. The bills let the state's largest health insurer transform into a customer-owned nonprofit and ends its tax-exempt status. The Republican governor signed the legislation Monday at a meeting of the company's board of directors in Detroit," the Associated Press reports.

Detroit EM accused of unpaid taxes

"Governor Rick Snyder is standing by his pick for Detroit’s emergency manager - despite some criticism over unpaid taxes. The Detroit News reported over the weekend that Kevyn Orr had two tax liens against his Maryland home. Orr says he has since paid the taxes," Jake Neher reports.

Flint postpones decision to get water from Lake Huron

"The Flint city council has delayed a decision on whether to take part in a quarter billion dollar project to pipe water from Lake Huron for the city’s drinking water. Council members are concerned the city will end up paying too much.   There is also concern that whatever decision they make could be overruled by Flint’s emergency financial manager," Steve Carmody reports.

Politics & Government
8:56 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Commentary: Getting used to an emergency manager

Lessenberry commentary for 3/18/13

Kevyn Orr, Detroit’s emergency manager in waiting, got a surprise media baptism. Someone discovered that he had a couple unpaid liens against his Maryland home, apparently for unpaid unemployment insurance for a child care provider. He immediately paid up and said he was embarrassed.

Welcome to the world of public scrutiny, 24/7. That’s not something attorneys in the private sector are used to. But the world of politics is completely different.

Former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer told me that he had learned that if you want to be in politics, you better be prepared to lie there naked and have every orifice examined.

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It's Just Politics
4:22 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

Political futures can be as hard to manage as Detroit under Emergency Management

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

The path of emergency management in Detroit is packed with political peril and promise (we decided to be quite alliterative this week). As Joe Biden once said, “This is a big deal.”

An Emergency Manager for the state’s largest city: It’s big. It’s complicated. Success would be sweet, but it’s certainly not guaranteed.

You could say Governor Rick Snyder now owns the city of Detroit, or at least its problems. And yet, his fate -  his political fate, the fate of his aspiration to be the governor who finally fixes Detroit - is now in the hands of someone else: Kevyn Orr. Orr was named Emergency Manager yesterday afternoon in Detroit. Orr’s success or failure will be Rick Snyder’s success or failure.

There’s already been a lot of talk about what this means for Rick Snyder’s future as he gets ready to run for reelection next year. And opinions are mixed. One take: The governor looks assertive and he’s taking action, which helps him regardless of the result. The other side: He’s taking a big risk and can be tagged as a failure if Detroit isn’t showing some real improvement by next spring or summer.

Here’s what’s difficult about any analysis of this situation: Ceteris paribus. It’s a common Latin phrase that economists use. It means “all things being equal.” And any analysis of any individual situation has to assume there’s some stability in the circumstances surrounding it. And in politics that’s not the case. Ever. There are always moving parts that are forcing other moving parts into new directions.

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Politics & Government
11:53 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Can Kevyn Orr pull off "one of the greatest turnarounds in the history of this country?"

Kevyn Orr
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Kevyn Orr is Detroit's emergency manager

It’s official: Detroit has an emergency manager.

His name is Kevyn Orr. And it’s fair to say that he charmed even some skeptical observers when he was introduced to Detroit Thursday.

Orr isn’t exactly a household name. He was—until he quit his job Friday—a partner at the Jones Day law firm in Washington, DC. He’s a bankruptcy lawyer and turnaround expert who helped Chrysler through a successful managed bankruptcy.

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Stateside
5:27 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Reaction to Detroit's new emergency manager

Sarah Cwiek reported from Detroit
Flikr

Today's biggest headline comes from Detroit as Governor Rick Snyder appointed the city's emergency manager. 

Earlier, Michigan Radio closely followed the day's events with updates leading up to Snyder's announcement.

At 2 p.m., the announcement was made. Michigan Radio's Zoe Clark and Tracy Samilton spoke with Cynthia Canty live as history was made.

Cyndy also spoke with Tom Barrow. Barrow twice ran for Mayor of Detroit in the 1980s against Coleman Young, and in 2009 against Dave Bing.

He has been a leading opponent of the appointment of an emergency manager for the City of Detroit.

He joined us from Detroit.

Listen to the full interview above. 

Stateside
5:26 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Is municipal bankruptcy Detroit's next step?

State of Michigan screen grab

We talked throughout today's Stateside about what an emergency manager might do when they first come to Detroit.

Daniel Howes, business columnist at the Detroit News, joined us as he does most weeks.

In his column today, he wrote about bankruptcy being Detroit's next step.

That's even after the appointment of an emergency manager.

Howes broke down for us how a municipal bankruptcy for a big city differs from a business or personal bankruptcy and what a bankruptcy would mean for the city of Detroit.

Kevin Orr, Detroit's new emergency manager, said today he hopes he doesn't have to use the 'cudgel' of bankruptcy. He instead hopes to get consent in a financial turnaround.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:25 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

An expert's take on Michigan's emergency manager laws

Detroit Mayor Bing
Kate Davidson Michigan Radio

Press conferences and news updates have given us minute-by-minute coverage of Kevyn Orr's appointment as Detroit emergency manager by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder today. 

Orr's repeated assurance that he will "look at the data" before moving forward may be part of his approach, but what does that mean?

Municipal finances and emergency manager laws are being used frequently by Orr, Snyder and Bing.

To outline and define these terms and their implications, Michigan Radio's Cynthia Canty spoke with Michigan State University professor of Economics Eric Scoresone.

Scoresone is an expert in the state's emergency manager laws as well as municipal finances within the state of Michigan.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:20 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Stateside for Thursday, March 14, 2013

Today marks a historic decision.

Governor Rick Snyder announced the appointment of an emergency manager for the city of Detroit.

On today's show, we looked at the many things that will change in the city once it's under state control.

We also talked with the emergency manager of Pontiac to get his view of what needs to be done in the state's largest city.

We also spoke with Columnist Daniel Howes who says don't take bankruptcy out of the equation.

But first, we were joined  with Michigan Radio's Zoe Clark and Tracy Samilton to talk about this afternoon's announcement in Detroit. They told us a little bit more about what the Governor had to say.

Politics & Government
8:44 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Commentary: Decision day for Detroit

Lessenberry commentary for 3/14/13

Yesterday, the Roman Catholic Church got a new Pope. Today, the city of Detroit and the state of Michigan begin a new era.

Later this afternoon, Governor Rick Snyder is expected to announce that he has definitely decided to name an emergency manager for the city. His choice is reportedly a Washington-based bankruptcy attorney named Kevyn Orr.

There doesn’t seem to be much doubt about this. But a cloud of uncertainty hovers over just about everything else.

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Politics & Government
7:37 am
Thu March 14, 2013

In this morning's news: Detroit EM announcement, human trafficking, Odawa same-sex marriage

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Governor Snyder expected to appoint an EM for Detroit today

Governor Rick Snyder is expected to announce his pick for Detroit's emergency manager today. As the Detroit Free Press reports,

"Snyder is widely expected to name high-powered Washington, D.C., lawyer Kevyn Orr, 54, who worked in a number of federal government roles and had a hand in Chrysler’s bankruptcy turnaround."

Commission will study human trafficking

"A commission will spend six months studying the problem of human trafficking and child prostitution in Michigan. The task force will then deliver a set of recommendations on new laws and ways to connect victims of human trafficking with help. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette convened the task force," Rick Pluta reports.

Odawa tribe to allow same-sex marriage

"The chairman of a northern Michigan Indian tribe says he'll sign a same-sex marriage bill Friday, then preside at the wedding of two men. The legislative body of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians voted 5-4 on March 3 to amend the Harbor Springs-based tribe's laws to allow same-sex marriages," the Associated Press reports.

Politics & Government
9:10 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Michigan's governor may announce the appointment of a Detroit emergency financial manager Thursday

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

DETROIT (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder will announce his final determination Thursday on a review of Detroit's finances - a move that could include the appointment of an emergency manager for the city.

That announcement is scheduled for 2 p.m. in Detroit, an hour before a state board responsible for hiring emergency managers for distressed Michigan cities and public school districts is to hold a special meeting in Lansing.

Snyder has said an emergency manager selection for Detroit has to go before the Local Emergency Financial Assistance Loan Board.

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Politics & Government
7:48 am
Wed March 13, 2013

In this morning's news: Detroit City Council appeal, sex offender registry, drug tests for welfare

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Detroit Mayor Bing says appeal unlikely to halt an EM

"Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says the City Council's appeal of Gov. Rick Snyder's determination that there's no plan to solve Detroit's financial emergency is unlikely to halt an emergency manager's appointment. Bing says he endorses the council's assertions that a viable restructuring plan is in place, and he released a progress report on the plan Tuesday," the Associated Press reports.

Governor Snyder signs bill to add more people to sex offender registry

"More people will be added to Michigan's public sex offender registry under a bill signed by Gov. Rick Snyder.  The bill signed Tuesday will require people convicted of a single Tier I offense for some crimes involving minors to be placed on the online registry. Offenses that qualify include possessing child pornography and surveillance of a minor," the Associated Press reports.

Bill would require welfare recipients to pass drug tests

"Michigan lawmakers are planning to consider a bill that would require welfare applicants and recipients to pass drug tests. [The] legislation being considered . . .  would establish a program of suspicion-based substance abuse screening and testing for Family Independence Program applicants and recipients who are at least 18 years old," the Associated Press reports.

Politics & Government
11:47 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

An historic week in Detroit (not in a good way)

In a weird twist of fate, two remarkable events in Detroit’s recent history are happening at virtually the same time.

Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was convicted of multiple federal corruption charges Monday. And Governor Snyder is expected to appoint an emergency financial manager within days.

The timing is a coincidence, but there’s some connection between the two events—and a lot of symbolism.

A historic bad week in Detroit

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Politics & Government
4:57 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Weekly Political Roundup: Road funding, Earned Income Tax Credit, Detroit's future

State Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Ifmuth Flickr

Each week we talk Michigan politics with Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants. Today we talk about transportation funding. Governor Snyder has called for $1.2 billion to address roads and transportation in Michigan, but there's no agreement in the legislature about how to get the money.

Plus, people are filing taxes and starting to feel the impact of some of the changes in the Michigan tax code, which includes the reduction in the Earned Income Tax Credit. Now a coalition is calling for the EITC to be restored, and Democrats in the House and Senate agree. What's next for the EITC?

And, as the Detroit City Council plans to appeal Governor Snyder’s decision to appointment an emergency financial manager for the city they are doing so without the support of Mayor Dave Bing who says it’s a fight they can’t win. Is he right?

Opinion
8:31 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Commentary: Facing reality in Detroit

Jack Lessenberry's essay "Facing reality in Detroit"

Some years ago, when the Green Party in Germany first had a chance to join a coalition government, there was a tremendous battle within the party between the purists and the pragmatists. The purists, who were nicknamed the “fundis,” felt that would be selling out. The practical politicians, called the “realos,” thought that by joining the government they could influence events and at least get some of their agenda enacted.

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Stateside
5:11 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

The pros and cons of a Detroit emergency manager

Gov. Snyder announcing last week that he intends to appoint an emergency manager for Detroit.
LiveStream

Governor Rick Snyder's declaration that he is preparing to appoint an emergency financial manager to run the city of Detroit has made headlines on a national scale.

As the stories are filed and the headlines are written, the true impact of an emergency manager in Detroit is resonating in the streets and neighborhoods of the city where people's lives will be touched deeply by this historic change in Detroit's government.

Cyndy discussed two views of this question with Tom Barrow and James Hill.

Tom Barrow is President of the group Citizens for Detroit's Future.  He has also run for Mayor of Detroit three times -against Coleman Young in 1985 and 1989, and then against Dave Bing in 2009.  His name is also coming up as a possible mayoral candidate this year.
 
James Hill is the Detroit Free Press politics editor.  His column in Sunday's Free Press was titled "Teamwork, with and for the people, can remake city."

In his column, he wrote:

We are not second-class citizens, even though we often get second-class services. We want the same as people in Troy, Tawas or Sebewing. It's not about race, it's about basic human needs...and common sense.

Click the audio above to hear the full interview.

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