emergency manager

Stateside
6:18 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

The challenges Detroit's emergency manager faces

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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.

Politics & Government
10:00 am
Fri March 29, 2013

Moody's upgrades the state of Michigan's bond rating outlook

(file photo)
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.  

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Politics & Government
2:37 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Comparing the new emergency manager law with the one repealed by voters

Credit 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Last November, Michigan voters repealed the state's much maligned Public Act 4 (emergency manager law).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.

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Politics & Government
12:27 am
Tue March 26, 2013

Flint city council asks governor to begin the process away from an emergency manager

Flint residents have long opposed the emergency manager appointed by the governor to run their city (file photo)
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.

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Politics & Government
12:07 am
Mon March 25, 2013

Flint leaders look to emerge from emergency manager control

Many people in Flint have not been happy to have an emergency manager running their city. (file photo)
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.”

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Politics & Government
7:48 am
Fri March 22, 2013

In this morning's news: Federal health exchange, rejecting contraception, and investigating EMs

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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.

Politics & Government
11:04 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Flint leaders delay decision on water pipeline project again

Genesee County Drain Commissioner Jeff Wright (right) addresses last night's Flint city council meeting
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. 

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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
8:38 am
Wed March 13, 2013

What's going on this week? Kilpatrick guilty, Detroit argues against EM, right to work deadline

The Capitol in Lansing.
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

Week in Michigan politics interview for 3/13/13

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.

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Politics & Government
7:42 am
Tue March 12, 2013

In this morning's news: Kilpatrick guilty, the fate of an emergency financial manager for Detroit

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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.

Politics & Government
1:14 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Emergency manager protestors block traffic along I-94

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.

Politics & Government
7:55 am
Mon March 11, 2013

In this morning's news: Detroit and possible EM, Rogers considers run for Senate, Maple Syrup Month

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.

Arts & Culture
3:19 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

Now showing in Flint...Emergency managers: the play!

"State of Emergency" looks at the EM law from Flint's perspective
Kate Wells Michigan Radio

Artists are often idealists, but in Flint this weekend, a new theater company is trying something really optimistic.

They’ve written a play about…emergency managers.

Sure, it may not be the sexiest topic, but it’s got people talking.

"There's this overwhelming sense of apathy."

Like us, for example. I sat in with an auditorium full of ninth graders from Beecher High School as they got a sneak peak. 

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Politics & Government
3:42 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

To challenge or not? Detroit's elected officials struggle for response to Governor Snyder

Credit City of Detroit

Detroit city officials are struggling to come up with a unified response to Governor Snyder’s decision to appoint an emergency financial manager.

They now have less than a week to decide if they want to challenge that. If they do, Governor Snyder has said a hearing will be held March 12.

Most members of the City Council want to at least pursue a public hearing challenging Snyder’s decision. But several say that’s difficult because Detroit mayor Dave Bing hasn’t publicly declared his position.

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Opinion
2:52 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

What’s Next for Detroit

Jack Lessenberry talks about what's next for Detroit.

While Detroit can technically appeal the governor’s decision to appoint an emergency manager, it is clear that the city is going to get one within the next couple of weeks.

Detroiters are now waiting to find out the identity of the person who will have more power in their city than any mayor has ever had. 

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Politics & Government
11:46 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Detroiters split over emergency manager: good, bad, or just inevitable?

Governor Snyder announced last week that he’ll appoint an emergency manager for the city of Detroit.

That means an unelected person will have sweeping powers to try and stop Detroit’s financial hemorrhaging.

Of course, emergency managers are controversial. And though they don’t have a choice in the matter, Detroiters are very much divided about whether this is a good thing.

“Both are going to hurt, which will hurt the less?”

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Politics & Government
7:31 am
Fri March 1, 2013

In this morning's news: Detroit financial announcement, health care updates, and Michigan roads

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Governor Snyder to make an announcement on Detroit's financial emergency

"Governor Rick Snyder is expected to announce today that he agrees with a review team’s determination that Detroit is in a financial crisis with no plan to solve it. That would set the stage for the governor to name an emergency manager to run the city later in March. There’s no official word on what the governor plans to do, but he has said the condition of Detroit’s finances is unacceptable," Rick Pluta reports.

Health care exchange and Blue Cross Blue Shield bills move forward

Michigan is moving forward on the Affordable Care Act. As the Detroit Free Press reports,

"In a 78-31 vote, 29 Republicans joined with 49 Democrats [Thursday] to accept $30.6 million in federal money to set up a Web-based health care exchange where Michigan residents can easily go and investigate, and ultimately buy, the health insurance mandated under the act. The House also overwhelmingly passed a pair of bills that transforms Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan from a tax-exempt nonprofit into a nonprofit mutual insurer."

Lawmakers consider ballot proposal to raise sales tax to fund Michigan roads

Lawmakers have come up with a new idea to fix Michigan's roads. As the Detroit News reports,

"Republican lawmakers could take the first step next week toward financing Gov. Rick Snyder's $1.2 billion road improvements by trying to place a 1-cent sales tax increase on the May ballot."

Stateside
3:13 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

The latest on a potential emergency manager for Detroit

The future of Detroit's Emergency Manager
Zoe Clark Michigan Radio

Last week, Governor Snyder  received the results of a state-appointed financial review of Detroit.

According to the review, Detroit is in a 'financial emergency' and that the city's current leaders "lack a plan."

This week, Michigan is waiting to see whether or not Gov. Snyder will appoint an emergency manager for the city. The Detroit City Council still seems unsure about how to respond to the review team's assessment. 

To discuss the options in front of Gov. Snyder and in front of the city, Michigan Radio's Cynthia Canty spoke with Detroit News columnist Daniel Howes.

To hear the full interview, click on the listen link above.

Politics & Government
7:37 am
Mon February 25, 2013

In this morning's news: Budget cuts, Detroit bankruptcy, taxes

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Michigan could loose $140 million if federal budget cuts happen Friday

"The White House says Michigan faces about $140 million in losses if an automatic federal budget cut takes effect Friday, and U.S. Sen. Carl Levin says he's hopeful the deadline pressure will prompt Congress to raise money by closing some tax loopholes. The cuts include $67.7 million in gross pay to 10,000 civilian Defense Department employees in Michigan and $42.2 million to K-12 and disability education programs in the state," the Associated Press reports.

Bankruptcy planning for Detroit

"It appears that officials are laying the groundwork for a so-called 'managed bankruptcy' in Detroit—though they hope that won’t actually happen. A process for going through chapter nine municipal bankruptcy is laid out in the state’s new emergency manager law that kicks in next month. Governor Snyder acknowledges that bankruptcy might be the only way to reduce Detroit’s long-term debt—estimated at more than $14 billion," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Taxes impact low and moderate earners this year

"Changes to Michigan's tax structure are hitting low and moderate earners hard this year. Lawmakers approved changes in 20-11 that cut 1-point-6 billion dollars in business taxes, but raised taxes on individuals. Low-income families could be the hardest hit, with the elimination of the child tax deduction, and a reduction in the Earned Income Tax Credit," Vincent Duffy reports.

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Politics & Government
8:12 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Gov. Snyder: At least week from deciding Detroit's fate

DETROIT (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder says he's at least a week away from deciding if Detroit needs an emergency manager to confront its $327 million budget deficit and $14 billion long-term debt.

Snyder told reporters Thursday that the city's drastic population loss over six decades is the main reason for its financial woes.

Detroit had 1.8 million people in the 1950 U.S. Census and about 700,000 in 2010. Snyder says new growth holds the key to Detroit's recovery.

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