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Ecorse financial emergency passes, says @onetoughnerd

by: Eric B.

Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 13:52:00 PM EDT

From Ye Olde Inbox:

LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Rick Snyder today announced that the financial emergency in the city of Ecorse has been resolved, and appointed a Transition Advisory Board (TAB) to help ensure a smooth transition and guide the city to continued financial stability.

“Emergency managers like Joyce Parker have made tremendous progress in resolving financial emergencies in local communities,” Snyder said. “Joyce Parker brought sound fiscal management and worked closely with elected officials as well as community residents and businesses alike to return Ecorse to financial stability while bolstering services. I would like to thank Joyce and the community for a job well done.”

On Monday, April 29, Parker notified the governor that it is her determination the city’s financial emergency has been sufficiently addressed. Parker cited several factors and accomplishments, including: elimination of a $14.6 million cumulative deficit and a $5 million structural deficit; reorganization of police and fire departments into one public safety department; reduction of operating costs by $4.3 million annually; increase of annual revenues by $2.3 million; evaluation and rebidding of all city services, which generated one-time savings of more than $2.8 million; receipt of more than $4 million in grants to support city operations and service delivery.

Submitted without comment.

Eric B. :: Ecorse financial emergency passes, says @onetoughnerd
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Expect a similar hit in your inbox on June 30:
Pontiac's Emergency Financial Manager (the artist formerly known as the Emergency Manager) Louis Schimmel has publicly stated that he anticipates June 30, the end of the fiscal year, to be his last day.

Breath held, fingers crossed and so forth. It has been four years. FOUR. YEARS.

Great Lakes, Great Times.

Foot note:
four years of emergency managers / emergency financial managers, that is. Schimmel has been there for over 1.5 years. Two other managers preceded him.

Clarity is good. Lack of clarity is bad.

Great Lakes, Great Times.

[ Parent ]
can anyone elaborate the damage done to Ecorse?  How much was privatised?  Were pensions raided? Unions broken?

Details are awfully light, aren't they?
We're left to imagine just how Ms. Parker managed to eliminate a $14.6 million cumulative deficit plus the $5 million structural deficit...is that even possible without "raiding" pensions?

As far as the unions, I would guess that the one-two punch of merging police and fire into a "public safety" department and "rebidding" all city services entailed considerable reductions in both the number of union-represented employees and the pay/benefits of those still there.

"The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity." ~ Harlan Ellison

[ Parent ]
'Bout damned time.  Nearly four years, and most of the work was done under the previous EFM law, you know, the one that wasn't completely and utterly unconstitutional.  And, now we have this new TAB bull with Hamtramck about to go back into an "emergency."

We'll be seeing Joyce, again in another town.  They move them around like chess pieces.

Better her than some I can imagine...
Back when the first EM law passed, I made a statement that -- despite the manifest weaknesses of PA 4 (most of which have been repeated in PA 436) -- most of the coming wave of EM Czars would exceed the minimum qualifications spelled out in the statute, and not be inherently corrupt, venal or drunk with the nigh-absolute power that comes with an EM assignment.

Joyce Parker, it would seem, has been a model for what EM Czars should be.

However, the fact that the EM laws do not REQUIRE that EM Czars hold public hearings, conduct open and competitive bidding for contracts, seek fair-market value for assets sold, provide a role for the city/district's elected leadership, or conduct his or her business with any transparency whatseover...

...and my fear has been that some EM Czars -- say, an "Anti-Joyce" -- could use the immense power and minimal oversight to commit all manner or mischief, entirely under the radar.

Some of the things done in Benton Harbor and the Muskegon Heights schools likely qualify. And I'm sure we're all dreading the things that Kevyn Orr could do with (or to) Michigan's largest city.

"The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity." ~ Harlan Ellison

[ Parent ]
It's not
It's not, nor has it ever been, about the emergency managers, themselves, but the system. Joyce Parker seems to have been someone not crazy about breathing fire - unlike that prig Joe Harris - but that doesn't change the horribleness of the system.

[ Parent ]
It's a bad law, full of exploitable loopholes.

But even if there were built-in safeguards covering transparency, due diligence, conflict of interest and proper oversight, the EM law exists to serve the interests of privatizers, protect the investments of major bondholders, and promote Republican demands to gut public-sector unions by any means necessary -- with citizens coming in a distant fourth, maybe fifth.

"The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity." ~ Harlan Ellison

[ Parent ]
To me, it simply comes down to the fact that the ends don't justify the means.  It's really just that simple for me.  If even these EM did solve the actual long-term issues with these places, it wouldn't justify the law.  It makes me mad when I here liberals just rolling over or even supporting this full-throatedly.  All the arguments come across with the ring of "Well, at least Mussolini made the trains run on time", which BTW, he didn't, but that's a whole other story.

[ Parent ]

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