emergency manager

Politics & Government
8:30 am
Tue July 16, 2013

In this morning's news: New DPS EM, retiree health care in Pontiac, EPA funds Great Lakes projects

Morning News Roundup for Tuesday, July 16, 2013
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Detroit Public Schools get new emergency manager

Governor Rick Snyder has named Jack Martin as the new emergency manager for Detroit Public Schools. Martin replaces Roy Roberts, who is retiring after two years in the position. Martin is leaving his position as Detroit’s chief financial officer.  Roberts says DPS still has a long way to go, but conditions are noticeably better than when he started; the current budget deficit is more than $70 million.

Retiree health care coverage suspended in Pontiac

Pontiac’s emergency manager Louis Schimmel has proposed the Emergency Loan Board address an expected $6 million general fund shortfall in the current budget year. The board approved a plan to suspend health care coverage for retirees from the city of Pontiac and increase their monthly pension payments. The city's roughly 1,000 pensioners will get an extra $400 a month to buy their own health care, the Associated Press reports.

EPA now accepting Great Lakes grant applications

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has $9.5 million to distribute for Great Lakes projects and is looking for takers. The money comes from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, an Obama administration program to clean up and protect the lakes from a variety of threats. A webinar explaining the application process will be held July 30.

Politics & Government
1:17 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Detroit's emergency manager leading bus tour of city's dire conditions

Detroit's Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr
mich.gov Michigan Government

Detroit’s answer to the famous bus tours of New York City is emerging this week.

Well, kind of.

On Wednesday, Detroit’s emergency manager Kevyn Orr will lead creditors on a guided bus tour through the city. But the tour won’t be highlighting the city’s landmarks. Instead, the creditors will be checking out dire conditions in some of Detroit’s neighborhoods.

From the Associated Press:

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Politics & Government
10:35 am
Fri July 5, 2013

After 3 years with an emergency manager, Benton Harbor considers an income tax

The City of Benton Harbor has been under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager since March 2010.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The city of Benton Harbor has been under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager for more than three years. Now some elected leaders in the state’s poorest city are proposing a new way to raise revenue.

Benton Harbor has done a lot to try to get out of debt; laid off workers, combined the police and fire departments, restructured its loans. But City Commissioner Trenton Bowens is convinced the city of roughly 10,000 people needs a citywide income tax.

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Politics & Government
3:36 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

State team assigned to look into Pontiac school finances

pontiac.k12.mi.us Pontiac School District

Gov. Rick Snyder has named six people to review the finances of the Pontiac School District, a step that could lead to the appointment of an emergency manager or other measures for the Oakland County district struggling with a $38 million budget deficit.

 A three-member Local Emergency Financial Assistance Loan Board on June 6 found "probable financial stress" in the district.

Under the new emergency manager law, if a financial emergency is found to exist, Pontiac officials have four options. They can enter a consent agreement with the state, agree to an emergency manager, go through a neutral evaluation process, or choose bankruptcy.

Here's a list of all school districts and cities that engaged with the state's emergency manager law (the Local Financial Stability and Choice Act).

Law
4:06 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Gov. Snyder appoints an emergency manager in Hamtramck, Flint EM replacement also announced

Cathy Square
Department of Treasury

The city of Hamtramck will once again be under state control.

The Department of Treasury announced Governor Rick Snyder's appointment of an emergency manager for the city of Hamtramck.

Gov. Snyder selected Pontiac City Administrator Cathy Square. She will assume the position on July 1, 2013. 

According to a press release from the Treasury, Hamtramck City Council waived its right to appeal the finding of a financial emergency and unanimously supported the appointment of an EM by the Governor. 

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Education
10:47 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Muskegon Heights schools emergency manager: 1 year to local control, 28 to pay off debt

EM Don Weatherspoon at a meeting in May 2012.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

With a little luck and another loan from the state, Muskegon Heights Public Schools’ Emergency Manager Don Weatherspoon is predicting the district will pay of its debt the year 2041.

Don Weatherspoon told a small crowd gathered in the high school auditorium Monday night he hopes to hand local control back to the district’s elected school board in one year.

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Education
9:12 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Muskegon Heights schools' emergency manager to update community tonight

MHPS Emergency Manager Don Weatherspoon at a town hall meeting in May 2012.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Muskegon Heights Public  Schools had nearly a $12 million deficit at the end of last school year. That's when the district’s newly appointed Emergency Manager Don Weatherspoon said the district couldn't afford to open school in the fall. He laid off most all the staff and hired charter school company Mosaica Education to run the schools for five years.

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Politics & Government
8:22 am
Thu June 13, 2013

In this morning’s news: Medicaid expansion, emergency managers, and heroin incidents

Morning News Roundup, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011
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Medicaid goes to House floor

Yesterday, the Michigan House Competitiveness Committee voted to send the Medicaid expansion bill to the floor. Michigan Radio's Jake Neher reports that while Republicans were split on the issue, “Democrats on the panel all voted in favor of the bill. That’s after lawmakers dropped a controversial plan to limit able-bodied adults to four years on Medicaid. But they say they’re still concerned about language that would raise premiums and co-pays for some patients after four years.”

Questions for Governor about Detroit's emergency manager

Concerns have been raised about Governor Rick Snyder’s process in selecting Kevyn Orr as Detroit’s emergency manager. Rick Pluta reports that “a judge says Governor Rick Snyder’s office must turn over e-mails and other records related to the candidate search for a Detroit emergency manager. The judge’s order is related to a lawsuit that alleges Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr was hired illegally. The lawsuit claims the process was rigged and carried out in violation of Michigan’s open meetings law.”

Heroin incidents on the rise in Michigan

A rash of heroin overdoses occurred in Washtenaw County last week, and incidents are on the rise across parts of the state. “Authorities say a particularly toxic heroin mix known by some on the street as ‘black shadow’ appears to be circulating in southeast Michigan communities, causing a rise in overdoses and at least one death this month,” report Robin Erb and Tammy Stables Battaglia of the Detroit Free Press.

Education
10:21 am
Fri June 7, 2013

State fines Muskegon Heights schools for hiring teachers without proper certification

The Muskegon Heights school system has been fined nearly $100,000 by the Michigan Department of Education. The department launched the investigation after Michigan Radio reported the new Muskegon Heights charter school district had about 10% of teachers working without a valid teaching certificate or permit. It’s against state law to do that.

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Politics & Government
9:50 am
Wed June 5, 2013

This week in Michigan politics: No Medicaid expansion, Terri Lynn Land, Hamtramck emergency

cncphotos flickr

This week in Michigan politics, Kyle Norris and Jack Lessenberry talk about Republican opposition to Medicaid expansion, former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate, and the financial emergency in the city of Hamtramck.

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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

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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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