emergency manager

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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.

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.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

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.

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.

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.

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. 


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.

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.”

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.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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.

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

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.

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.

Paul Hitzelberger / United Photo Works

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.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan’s credit rating is getting a boost.

The state of Michigan’s credit rating has taken a bit of a beating in recent years.

But the credit rating agency Moody’s this week revised its opinion of Michigan bonds from ‘stable’ to ‘positive.’

Moody’s is giving the state credit for rebuilding its financial reserves and running structurally balanced budgets. 

A State Treasury spokesman says the hope is the change may help the state get a better rate for an upcoming $200 million school bond issue.  

Marlon Phillips / Michigan Public Radio

Today's the day.

It's the day the state's new emergency law goes into effect - the day current 'emergency financial managers' become 'emergency managers.'

Last November, Michigan voters repealed the state's much maligned Public Act 4 (emergency manager law). The majority of voters felt the law put too much power in one person's hands.

Legislators reacted to the repeal by passing a modified emergency manager law (Public Act 436).

It restores a lot of the old powers granted to emergency managers under the old law, but with some differences.

Here are some similarities and differences between the old EM law, and the new one.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Flint City Council has taken a first step toward taking back control of the city’s finances.

The council last night unanimously passed a resolution asking Governor Rick Snyder to remove the city’s emergency manager.

Flint city officials want the governor to replace the emergency manager with a transition team to phase out state control of the city’s finances over two years.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Flint city council is expected to vote tonight on a plan that may set the stage for the city to emerge from state oversight. 

The council will consider asking the governor to appoint a “receivership transition advisory board.”    

Flint Mayor Dayne Walling says the board would guide the city after the departure of the emergency manager.

“This is an area of the law that we want to take advantage of,” says Walling, “We want assistance with our revenue estimates…with budget amendments.”

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Michigan will have a federal health exchange to shop for coverage

"Michigan will be part of the federal government’s health insurance exchange, instead of being a partner in a joint effort. That’s because the state Senate began its spring break Thursday without meeting a deadline to vote on accepting federal funds for the project," Rick Pluta reports.

Health care providers could refuse to provide contraception for moral reasons

"Health care professionals and insurance companies could refuse to provide contraception, or other services if they find them morally objectionable under a bill adopted by a legislative committee. The measure makes exception for emergencies," Rick Pluta reports.

Detroit reps want feds to investigate EMs

"Two congressmen who represent Detroit are asking the federal government to investigate Michigan's emergency managers. Democratic Congressmen John Conyers and Gary Peters are asking the federal Government Accountability Office . . . to make sure any federal dollars under emergency manager control aren’t being wasted or misused. In a letter written to the accountability office, the congressmen say they’re concerned about the impact emergency managers could have on federally-funded programs and grants," Lindsey Smith reports.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Flint city council has delayed a decision on whether to take part in a quarter billion dollar project to tap water from Lake Huron for the city’s drinking water. The panel delayed taking action on the proposal last week as well.

The project has been in development for years. But supporters say they will soon have to start work on the project. They want Flint leaders to decide now if the city is going to be part of the project. 

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.

State capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

This week in Michigan politics, Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley discuss the trial of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, the debate between the Detroit City Council and Governor Snyder over an impending emergency manager appointment in Detroit, and how unions are trying to get new contracts in place before the new right to work law takes affect later this month.

To hear their discussion, click on the audio above.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Kilpatrick found guilty on public corruption case

"Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his longtime friend Bobby Ferguson are in prison. The two men were taken into custody after a federal jury found them guilty on multiple charges in a major federal corruption trial," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Lawyer who represented Chrysler in bankruptcy might be Detroit's EFM

Kevin Orr, a Washington D.C. lawyer who represented Chrysler in it's 2009 bankruptcy might be Governor Rick Snyder's choice to be Detroit's emergency financial manager. That's if Snyder moves forward with an emergency financial manager for the city. As the Detroit News reports,

"A high-level source with knowledge of the decision confirmed late yesterday that Orr is the choice. He's the only name to emerge who hasn't denied interest since Snyder declared the city in a financial emergency March 1."

Detroit City Council to argue against an EFM in a hearing today

"Michigan officials are set to hear an appeal from Detroit council members who dispute the state's declaration that the city has no plan to fix its fiscal crisis. Chief Deputy Treasurer Mary MacDowell will attend today's hearing in Lansing and report back to Governor Rick Snyder. Detroit has a budget deficit of $327 million," the Associated Press reports.

WXYZ-TV reports two vehicles blocked traffic on eastbound I-94 this morning near the Lodge Freeway in Detroit.

Michigan State Police say the vehicles stopped traffic as a protest against the impending emergency manager appointment in Detroit.

More from WXYZ-TV

Two vehicles involved in what Michigan State Police are calling a protest brought traffic to a halt on EB I-94 near the Lodge Freeway in Detroit Monday morning.

Police were able to pull the protestors over and write them citations.

The vehicles had signs on them, one reading "Democracy" and another reading "Detroit emergency manager."

They are upset over Governor Rick Snyder declaring the city of Detroit is in the midst of a financial emergency and the search for an emergency financial manager.

They report this isn't the first time protestors have backed up traffic.

On Wednesday, a handful of protestors slowed traffic on southbound Interstate 75 near Interstate 94 in Detroit. Traffic also was backed up on northbound I-75.

The city is appealing the state's decision that the city is in a 'financial emergency' and that city leaders have no plan to address the problem.

A hearing over the matter is scheduled for tomorrow.

Detroit has one more day to avoid an emergency manager

"The Detroit city council has one more day to put the final touches to its arguments to avert a state takeover. An appeal hearing is scheduled for tomorrow before a state treasury official, who will forward a recommendation to Governor Rick Snyder," Rick Pluta reports.

Mike Rogers considers running for Levin's Senate seat

"Republican U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers says he's seriously considering running for the Michigan U.S. Senate seat that Democrat Carl Levin is vacating next year. The 78-year-old Levin announced Thursday that he wouldn't run again when his current term expires in 2014," the Associated Press reports.

Snyder announces March as "Michigan Maple Syrup Month"

"Gov. Rick Snyder has declared March "Michigan Maple Syrup Month" in honor of the industry's contribution to the state economy. According to the state, Michigan ranks seventh in the U.S. with an average yearly maple syrup production of about 100,000 gallons," the Associated Press reports.